The world is grappling with the fear of Coronavirus and there is no denying that COVID-19 is a majorly risky infection, that can affect all age groups.
With medical professionals, scientists and governments across all continents, running helter-skelter hoping to contain this lethal infection, invent a vaccine, creating an awareness on how and why coronavirus should not be taken easy - there is no dearth for information that is being circulated worldwide.
While all doctors agree in unison that adults above the age of 60 and kids below 10 years are prone to this risky infection, there is also another section of patients- those with a history of organ transplant and also those awaiting a transplant, who need an immediate and similar care in these tough times.
Dr. Gomathy Narasimhan, India’s first woman multi-organ transplant specialist, known for several successful liver and kidney transplants in our country explains why pre and post-transplant patients need to exercise a little more extra caution and care to stay safe from COVID-19.
Precautions To Be Followed By Organ-Transplant Patients:
Why Are Patients With A History Of Organ Transplant At The Higher Risk Of COVID-19?
It’s not just coronavirus, the post-transplant patients are highly vulnerable to various infections. The first thing, we ensure during recovery after undergoing a transplant is a thorough counselling session on Dos and Don’ts for the rest of their lives. Their immunity is suppressed at a greater level and even a normal infection can trigger major concerns about their health.
What In Particular Should Post Organ Transplant Patients Need To Do, To Stay Safe From COVID-19?
Well, they should strictly adhere to what all doctors are saying and there are no two ways about it. COVID-19 is a fast-spreading and a powerful virus that can put anybody’s life at risk. Move away from people showing any signs of infection, isolate yourself completely. Do not step out of your room, keep your surroundings clean, practice personal hygiene till this settles down.
What Is Your Advice For Patients Awaiting A Transplant?
In case of kidney disease patients awaiting a transplant, we are advising them to continue on dialysis, as we don’t the immunity to be compromised further. Unfortunately, there is no backup option available while treating liver disease patients. In such cases, if the patient’s medical condition worsens from liver disease, we are taking decisions depending on the condition of the patient.
Do You Have Any Suggestions For The Donors, Willing To Donate Organs?
As of now, doctors are putting a hold on all organ transplants until we become free from this virus. The patients will be already on immunosuppressants, but we do not want to risk the life of a healthy donor as well. If you are a potential donor, take care of your health first.
What Is Your Suggestion For The Patients Coming From Abroad For Treatment?
As of now, all medical visas are cancelled for the next two weeks. There is a lot of uncertainty at this point in time and we are asking patients to go into self-quarantine, in their home countries too. We are treating patients with acute problems and are available over the phone for consultations.
Please Share Five Golden Rules For Pre And Post Organ Transplant Patients?
- Your home is the safest place to stay.
- Do not run to your doctors, unless you suffer from severe symptoms.
- Take all your prescribed medications on time. Do not self-medicate.
- Consult your specialist over the phone always. Meeting in person, visiting hospitals will put you at a high risk of COVID-19.
- Visit the hospital if you have any specific symptoms related to the COVID -19 Infection or any other symptoms.
- Dr. Gomathy Narasimhan, MBBS, MS, ASTS Fellowship (USA) is a first woman multi-organ transplant specialist in India. She serves as Vice-Chairman, Medical Advisory Board & Senior Consultant, HPB Surgery, Liver and Renal Transplant Surgeon, Dr Rela Institute & Medical Centre, Chennai.