Surgery gives Pakistani boy new lease of life

Nine-year-old Amaar Asif will now be able to attend school once he returns to Pakistan. He is even looking forward to playing football with his friends after three years.

Asif has been battling with kidney failure for the last three years. Regular dialysis had kept him away from a normal life. An 18-hour-long surgery performed in Fortis, Noida, gifted the boy a new lease of life. Over two months after the operation was conducted, Asif is finally ready to head to his hometown Lahore.

Asif was suffering from a rare disease of primary hyperoxaluria. It is a rare condition in which there is an overproduction of oxalic acid. This leads to stone formation in the kidney which can lead to renal failure.

A team of 18-20 doctors performed a rare combined liver and kidney transplant on Asif. According to a doctor who operated upon the boy, only one in five lakh people suffer from this rare condition.

While Asif’s uncle donated him a kidney, his maternal uncle donated him a part of the liver. “Around 150 cases are reported annually all over the world. The combined transplant of liver and kidney on the boy was not easy because he was sick for the last five years. He had low immunity as he was undergoing dialysis for the last three years,” said Dr Vivek Vij, who headed the surgery.

The child’s family chose India for the treatment because of its proximity to Pakistan.
The case was challenging because of the boy’s severe low immunity level, added Vij.
“We zeroed-in on India as it is our neighbouring country. Also, when we compared the cost of treatment to other countries, it was cheaper,” said Mubarak Haider, the child’s grandfather. The surgery costs the family around Rs 39 lakh. Asif’s mother Unaiza Haider said, “Finding donors was the most difficult task. Arranging the financial resources delayed the transplant by almost three years.”

However, Haider said the Indian High Commission in Islamabad cooperated with the family to issue visas readily. “Both the countries are same if we ignore the border,” said a relieved Haider.

For Asif, going back to Pakistan and reunting with his friends is the most exciting bit. “I will soon be able to play my favourite sport football.” Asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he said, “A scientist. Or may be a doctor.”

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