Fighting all odds, teen girl donates liver to ailing father in Kerala

A 17-year-old girl has donated a portion of her liver to save her ailing father, suffering from chronic liver disease with hepatocellular cancer at a hospital here, considered to be the first such case in the country.
Fighting all odds, teen girl donates liver to ailing father in Kerala

Kochi | A 17-year-old girl has donated a portion of her liver to save her ailing father, suffering from chronic liver disease with hepatocellular cancer at a hospital here, considered to be the first such case in the country.

The surgery was carried out at the Rajagiri Hospital here on February 9, a hospital statement said.

Devananda (17), a native of Kolazhy in nearby Thrissur district, recently bagged a favourable order from the Kerala High Court to donate liver to her father as he could not find a suitable donor.

According to the the Transplantation of Human Organ Act, 1994, the provisions do not permit donation of organs from minors.

A Class 12 student, she had approached the court seeking exemption in age and Justice V G Arun's order in the matter lauded Devananda for fighting against all odds.

According to the hospital, the surgery was led by Dr Ramachandran Narayana Menon, chief of Multi-Organ Transplant Services at Rajagiri Hospital, along with transplant surgeons and transplant anaesthetists.

Father Johnson Vazhappilly CMI, Executive Director & CEO of Rajagiri Hospital, said in the statement that Devananda is a role model in organ donation.

Menon also applauded the courage of Devananda and said she is an inspiration to many.

The life of 48-year-old Pratheesh, who was running a cafe in Thrissur, had overturned when he found fluid accumulation in his leg which on further evaluation revealed to be liver disease along with cancerous lesions in the liver.

Pratheesh's family was devastated when doctors advised them that there was no other option than to go for liver transplantation at the earliest, it said.

Though his family searched for a matching donor, they could not find a suitable person.

Hospital authorities said Kerala, which once boasted a good number of donations from brain-dead donors, saw a massive drop in the donation rates owing to many reasons in recent years.

Misperceptions on brain-dead organ donations was the main reason for this drop in donation rates, they said.

Devananda enquired about the possibilities to donate a portion of her liver to her father and found that according to the existing 1994 Act related to transplantation of human organs, minors could not donate their organs.

However, she did not give up her effort and found that in a similar case, there was a court order allowing the organ donation from a minor child.

Setting aside the objections raised by some relatives, she approached the High Court with her plea which finally granted her permission to donate liver for her father, the statement said.

Devananda made drastic changes in her diet and joined a local gym with regular exercises to ensure that her liver was in the best condition for donation, it added.

After a week's hospital stay, Devananda is now returning to normal life, hospital authorities said.

The Class 12 student is now looking forward to her public exams, scheduled to be held in March, they said.

Devananda said though this was the most challenging period of her life, she was overjoyed that her father has a second chance at life due to the donation.

Appreciating the efforts of Devananda, Rajagiri Hospital waived off her medical expenses including donor surgery, the statement added.

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