Man donates part of liver to save wife’s life in Dubai, 05-11-2018 21:28:44

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Man donates part of liver to save wife’s life in Dubai

It was an act of true love.

When Ruchi suddenly fell ill due to jaundice and subsequent liver failure, the only option left was to have a liver transplant as soon as possible.

This was when, in an act of true love, her husband Amit Arora stepped in and donated 65 per cent of his liver to save the life of his wife of 20 years.

It all happened in a span of 10 days, from Ruchi’s sudden illness to liver failure, the couple told Khaleej Times.

It was in April last year when Ruchi started feeling uneasy. "I was constantly fatigued, had low-grade fever, and was losing my appetite while the whites of my eyes had also started turning yellow," the teacher said, adding that she did not pay much attention to the symptoms until one day when she was unable to eat her favourite dish specially ordered for her at her workplace.

"I hadn’t eaten all day and when I saw my favourite dish, I felt nauseous. This was when I thought there was something seriously wrong and it was time to see a doctor," she said.

Ruchi, 45, was diagnosed with jaundice and was told she could have probably caught the bug while she was on holiday in India.

"It was also a time when Amit’s mother was hospitalised and he was shuttling between Dubai and Mumbai," said Ruchi. "So I also decided to join him in India."

In India, Ruchi’s condition worsened and liver function tests (LFT) showed that she had liver failure. She was hospitalised immediately. Without a transplant, she only had a 10 per cent chance to live.

Though the doctors said they were trying their best to treat Ruchi with medicines, it was likely that she would need a transplant soon and asked Amit to start looking out for a live or deceased donor.

While in hospital, Ruchi suffered two pre-cardiac attacks and doctors lost her pulse for a few minutes. The doctors then told Amit that the transplant was necessary and had to be done immediately.

Right then and there, Amit, 49, decided to donate his liver. "There was no time to think . it was a matter of life and death," he said.

All necessary tests on Amit were carried out in two days. Since he was a universal blood donor, a blood match was easy. Doctors at Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai also checked if his liver was healthy (fat-free), and luckily, he was a match.

Meanwhile, the couple’s family and friends completed all the legal requirements on organ donation.

"The donor has to record a statement and submit a sworn affidavit that states he is donating on his own free will," said Amit while explaining the procedures that had to be taken care of.

The day Ruchi had a second pre-cardiac episode was the day the 18-hour-long surgery was done at around midnight on April 26th.

"It was a long procedure, and 65 per cent of my liver’s right lobe was removed and transplanted in Ruchi," said Amit.

The major surgery was a success, and while Amit stayed in the hospital for a week or so, Ruchi’s body needed time to accept the foreign object. "I was tested before being allowed to go home after over a week," said Amit.

Ruchi stayed nearly a month at the hospital before she was moved to home care. "Even while I was at home, I was isolated so that I could not catch any infections," said Ruchi. She was also not allowed to travel for three months.

Today, both are recovering from the major surgery. While doctors told Amit that his liver would replace its lost tissue over time, Ruchi has to take anti-rejection (immuno-suppressants) medicines for life.

"I still have to go for my LFTs. Earlier, it was conducted once a week, then 15 days, then a month, now we have to travel to India every six months for a check-up with the surgeons," said Ruchi.

The journey, however, has not been easy for the couple who has a son who studies in Grade 11. "While Ruchi was recuperating in India for three months, I was alone in Dubai and this was a tough time for me," said Amit.

There was lot happening in life, he said. "Other than the financial burden (the surgery and other costs came to over Dh150,000), I was also emotionally and physically drained."

"So I joined the Art of Living Happiness programme, which calmed me down and helped a lot," said Amit.

When Ruchi came back to Dubai in August, she too joined the Art of Living programme. "It helped me calm down mentally and emotionally," she said. "I had frequent headaches, which had stopped after I joined the Kriya programme and meditation."

"Today, we are stronger physically, in a better state of mind, coping with issues in a better way, and are getting along well in life," said the couple.

Ruchi also rejoined her job as a teacher at the start of the last academic year. "My school was understanding and they reduced my work hours and other tasks," she said. She, however, still wears a mask whenever she is out of the house or when she gets visitors, so that she does not catch any infections.

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