Painter gets second chance at life with police constable’s heart


A 34-year-old police constable’s heart was transplanted in a young painter at the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) here on Wednesday. The donor, N. Veerababu, met with an accident in Gollagudem of Khammam district on Sunday, and was declared brain-dead on Tuesday.

Hyderabad Traffic Police created a green channel and facilitated the organ transportation from Yashoda Hospital in Malakpet to NIMS, Punjagutta, in just 12 minutes on Wednesday afternoon. The transplantation was expected to be completed by evening. The last heart transplantation was performed at NIMS in 2018.

Significantly, the recipient, a painter in his early 30s, was registered with the State government’s Jeevandan cadaver transplantation programme on Tuesday. It is unusual for a recipient to receive an organ within a day of registering.

In-charge of the organ donation programme G. Swarnalatha said that the blood group, size of the heart, age of donors and recipients have to match for the transplant to take place. “There was no waiting list in his particular blood group,” she said.

The constable, Veerababu, was on leave and was visiting Khammam. On his return journey on a two-wheeler, he met with an accident involving a bus. He was rushed to a local hospital, and from there, to the corporate hospital in Hyderabad. During treatment, his brain function lowered and doctors declared him brain-dead. Thereafter, his heart was harvested for the transplantation.

21st heart transplant

The heart transplantation taken up at NIMS is the 21st such this year. Altogether, 133 hearts have been transplanted since 2013 when the Jeevandan programme was launched. Of the 133, only one was performed at Gandhi Hospital, and six (including the one on Wednesday) at NIMS. A hundred transplantations were performed at corporate hospitals in Hyderabad, and 26 were sent to other States.

Heart transplantations at corporate hospitals can cost around ₹20 lakh, which becomes challenging for economically disadvantaged patients in need of the procedure.

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