11-month-old boy’s kidneys save Punjab woman’s life

An 11-month-old brain dead boy has saved the life of a 38-year-old woman suffering from kidney failure, becoming the youngest organ donor at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh.

The baby, Pritam, was from Sector 45, Chandigarh. On July 6, the child fell out of a cot, suffering grievous head injury. Pritam’s parents rushed him to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where doctors referred him to PGIMER.

However, the baby’s situation worsened, and his parents Lakshman Pun and Geeta were informed of his brain death on July 7.

Following the consent of the parents, the baby’s kidneys were retrieved and transplanted in a 38-year-old woman from Punjab.

Lakshman, 24, said, “I could not save my son. At least by donating his organs, I had the chance to save someone else’s life.”

“In an exemplary gesture, the parents of an 11-month-old baby from Sector 45, Chandigarh, donated his organs, giving a new lease of life to a terminally ill renal failure patient here at PGIMER. This makes the baby the youngest donor in PGIMER’s transplant history so far since the cadaver renal transplant program initiated in 1996,” mentions the official statement.

Dr Ashish Sharma, head, department of renal transplant surgery, PGIMER, said the child could also be the youngest organ donor in the country.

“According to organ donation norms for babies under the age of one, two confirmatory tests to declare a baby brain dead must have a gap of 24 hours. It was a Herculean task for the paediatricians to maintain the donor infant through that time gap,” he said.

The doctor said the first priority was paediatric organ recipients. However, the cross-match identified an adult recipient, and she was given both kidneys.

‘Kidneys will grow in size’

Dr Ashish Sharma, head, department of renal transplant surgery, PGIMER, said with time the kidneys will grow in size, but till then the patient will have to take precautions, like maintaining the blood pressure level as that of a child.

“Last year, I had transplanted the kidney of a three-year-old child in an adult, and in three months, the size increased from 6cm to 8cm,” he said.

Explaining challenges of the transplant, Dr Sharma said, “The biggest challenge was that the infant’s kidneys were half the size (4.5cm) of the adult’s kidney (11 cm). So, suturing the kidneys and positioning them was challenging.”

Dr Ashish said the patient was doing well on the second day of the surgery, which was a positive sign.

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