Indian-Origin Doctor Performs UAE’s First Paediatric Living Liver Transplant: A Life-Saving Milestone

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A Groundbreaking Surgery

In a remarkable medical achievement, an Indian-origin doctor has successfully performed the first paediatric living liver transplant in the UAE. The groundbreaking procedure was conducted on four-year-old Razia Khan, who was born in Abu Dhabi and diagnosed with a rare genetic liver condition called Progressive Familial Intrahepatic Cholestasis type 3 (PFIC). The surgery was carried out by Dr. Rehan Saif and his team at Burjeel Medical City (BMC).

A Family’s Struggle

Razia’s family had already endured the heartache of losing their first daughter to the same condition three years ago in India. Razia’s father, Imran Khan, has lived in the UAE for 14 years and works as a trading coordinator. “Having lost one daughter to the same condition, every day was filled with fear. I wasn’t sure what would happen. Every day I was afraid of losing her,” he shared.

The Need for Transplant

Three months ago, a routine check-up revealed that Razia’s spleen and liver had enlarged, prompting doctors to recommend a liver transplant. “Razia’s condition is caused by a genetic mutation, leading to abnormal bile formation and liver damage. It presents in infancy and early childhood with growth failure and liver failure complications,” explained Dr. Saif, Director of Transplant Surgery at Burjeel Abdominal Multi-Organ Transplant Program.

Bangalore Roots

Dr. Saif, originally from Bangalore, migrated to the UK and now holds a UK passport. He emphasized that liver transplantation is the only definitive and curative treatment for children with PFIC. After thorough evaluations, Razia’s father volunteered to be the donor.

Successful Surgery

The transplant team at BMC, led by Dr. Saif, performed simultaneous donor and recipient surgeries lasting 10 hours. “This is a monumental achievement for the UAE’s medical community. It ensures that children like Razia can receive life-saving treatments without the need to travel abroad,” said Dr. Saif.

A New Beginning

Razia has made an excellent recovery and will undergo regular follow-ups. Her physical and intellectual development is expected to return to normal, allowing her to start school and enjoy her childhood like any other child her age. “We are proud to have reached this milestone and look forward to helping more families in the future,” Dr. Saif added.

This successful surgery not only marks a significant milestone for the UAE’s healthcare sector but also brings hope to many families facing similar medical challenges.

(With inputs from agencies)

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