The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hyderabad hope for Pak child

Hyderabad, Aug. 6: Five-year-old Batul Hasan has come to India hoping to get a new lease of life.

The Pakistani child’s diseased liver will be replaced tomorrow at Global Hospital in an operation expected to last over 10 hours.

On July 29, 10-day-old heart patient Muhammed Ahmed was saved with emergency treatment here after the Indian Airlines flight carrying him and his uncle from Lahore to Bangalore made an unscheduled landing in Hyderabad.

Batul’s father, 45-year-old Irtiaz Hasan, was not sure what to expect when he first landed here on July 12. “I came to Hyderabad with a load of apprehensions about Indians, their inhibitions, behaviour towards us. I find my beliefs were misplaced.”

The emotion showing in his voice, he said: “I have got so much warmth and understanding from the people here that I could not expect anything more.”

The doctors are not expecting more than 30 per cent of Irtiaz’s liver to be transplanted into his daughter.

“We could not take her mother’s liver as the blood groups did not match,” said Mohammed Rela, the chief surgeon for the operation who is on lease to Global Hospital from King’s College Hospital, London.

Batul suffers from Alagille’s Syndrome, a genetic defect that shows up in the form of liver disease, holes in the heart, poor blood circulation to the lungs and abnormalities in the spine and eyes. It was detected when she was two.

“At least five surgeons and almost an equal number of assistants will be part of the transplant team,” said Ravindranath, the chief of Global Hospital.

Irtiaz, a Karachi-based entrepreneur dealing in cargo and couriers, was advised by well-wishers in his city and Mumbai to take his daughter to India.

He was earlier asked by the Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi to seek help in Singapore or the UK. But the transplant would have cost around Rs 44 lakh in either country.

That decided the course of action for Irtiaz and wife Shama. They did not want their second child to suffer like their first, a 14-year-old son who suffered from meningitis and is now mentally handicapped.

Rela, a liver transplantation expert, said the team would be working on the principle of 90 per cent success. Post-operative care involving use of immuno-suppressant drugs would be crucial for success, he added.

A bleary-eyed Shama said she prayed more today than ever for the recovery of Batul, who has just entered the senior Montessori grade in school. “She has always been an active girl and very talkative,” the mother said.

“An operation of this order would cost almost Rs 14 lakh. But as per our policy of providing free hospital and professional services if the patients have a donor…we will charge them (the Hasans) only for medicine and disposables,” Ravindranath said.

The Hasans have deposited Rs 4 lakh with the hospital for the surgery.

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