In what is deemed as the first organ transplant between COVID-19 survivors in India, a 65-year-old woman has donated a kidney to her son who was in an advanced stage of renal failure.
Despite her age and battle with COVID-19, Kalpana Ghosh, from Bangladesh, donated her kidney to her son Uttam, giving him a new lease of life.
The mother-son duo had come from Dhaka to Kolkata's RN Tagore Hospital in January. By the time the doctors could schedule a surgery after getting the necessary permission from the state health department, the COVID-19 lockdown came into effect.
While soon the Union Health Ministry issued an advisory recommending emergency transplant surgeries during lockdown, the duo tested positive for COVID-19. Due to their financial condition, they then shifted to state-run MR Bangur Hospital for COVID-19 treatment.
They were discharged from the hospital on June 12 after they tested negative for the virus. After two weeks of mandatory home quarantine, the transplant surgery was conducted on July 3.
"I am very brave, didi. I thought now that I've begun swimming, I will cross the river. I made up my mind that I will return to Dhaka with my son," Kalpana told NDTV.
"My mother's courage got us through the double blow. First the need to transplant her kidney and then both of us testing positive. We spent 10 days in the COVID-19 government hospital MR Bangur. Her courage gave me strength," Uttam, 38, said.
For the doctors too, an organ transplant amid the pandemic and on COVID-19 survivors posed as a dual challenge.
"So far I know, this is the first case in which both donor and recipient in an organ transplant were coronavirus survivors," said Dr Deepak Shankar Ray, head of the nephrology department who conducted the transplant.