Chennai hospital performs liver transplant on 3-year-old girl


A three-year-old girl underwent liver transplant surgery without blood transfusion at a city hospital recently.

Milana, from Ukraine, was brought to Rela Hospital in a critical condition. Her family belongs to Jehovah’s Witnesses, followers of a Christian faith that prohibits use of blood or blood products during treatment. The family requested that the surgery be performed without blood transfusion.

Hospital chairman Mohamed Rela said, “With liver failure, blood does not clot. So during the transplant we need to transfuse blood and blood products. But in this case, the child was prepared for liver transplant with medication to improve her anaemia and later taken for transplant. Meticulous care was taken during surgery to reduce blood loss. We managed to perform the liver transplant successfully without blood transfusion.”

Birth defect

Milana was born with biliary atresia, a birth defect where the bile duct connecting the liver and intestine is not formed. “It occurs in one in 10,000 births. If the condition is diagnosed within 60 days of birth, surgery can be performed to clear the jaundice and protect the baby from undergoing a transplant,” said Naresh Shanmugam, director, women and child health, and senior consultant of paediatric gastroenterology and hepatology.

Milana’s father Boris said she was suffering from liver disease for more than two years. “We travelled across Europe but no doctor gave assurance on the transplantation without blood transfusion. Then we came to know about Rela Hospital from our friends and they saved our child’s life. We are grateful to the medical team for their efforts and obeying our belief,” he said.

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