Mumbai News: Licence To Transplant Heart At KEM Hospital But No Heart-Lung Machine

Mumbai News: Licence To Transplant Heart At KEM Hospital But No Heart-Lung Machine

The tender for procurement was first floated in October last year but no vendor has shown any interest; the tender date has been extended thrice since then

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Tuesday, January 16, 2024, 10:05 PM IST
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Prashant Narvekar

Mumbai: After 56 years of long wait, the civic-run KEM Hospital has finally received its license for performing heart transplants but it is still waiting for machines to perform the procedure. The tender for procurement was first floated in October last year but no vendor has shown any interest; the tender date has been extended thrice since then. 

The files, meanwhile, have been sent to the BMC’s central purchase department. A source said that the three firms were about to bid but backed out at the last moment as the BMC’s tendering system involves a lot of paperwork that’s quite discouraging.

Two machines are key to a heart transplant – a trans-medic organ care system to preserve donor hearts for transplantation and the heart-lung machine that does the work of the heart and takes the strain off the patient’s lungs. According to the Zonal Transplant Coordination Committee (ZTCC), 59 people are on the waiting list for heart transplant in Mumbai. 

"Many modern equipment are required too"

An official said that the hospital administration has taken a bold decision of applying for a license in 2023 that will help scores of patients on the waiting list and was granted the same two months ago but there are several other things required that weren’t thought of. “Apart from the license, we require a suitable place where the transplant can be done, infection-free OT, a heart-lung machine, and transplant experts. Many other modern equipment are required for the procedure. The heart-lung machine itself costs between Rs1 crore and Rs1.5 crore (including maintenance),” the official said.

The hospital dean Dr Sangeeta Rawat, however, said that they are in the process of buying equipment. She said, “We will seek guidance and help from experienced heart surgeons in the city for our programme. We plan to start the service at the earliest this year.” 

Hopeful that the facility will start this year, additional municipal commissioner Dr Sudhakar Shinde added that they have taken the decision to benefit poor patients who cannot spend Rs20-25 lakh for such a surgery in a private hospital.

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