A team headed by Dr. Abhay Bhave, Senior Consultant- Haematology, Global Hospital, Parel successfully carried out a bone marrow transplant of a 39-year-old man suffering from acute myeloid leukemia, a type of blood cancer if untreated can kill within months. The patient is stable now and got the discharge.
Life was smooth until a 39-year-old man from Mumbai, a software engineer was jolted out of his normal life owing to fever, generalized weakness. His health started deteriorating and his family was worried. He consulted a local physician. However, the patient was referred to Global Hospital, Parel, Mumbai wherein his life was saved by the doctors.
Dr. Shrinath Kshirsagar, Consultant, Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant Physician, Global Hospital, Parel said, “The patient came in an emergency in February 2020, when he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a type of blood cancer if untreated can kill within months.
Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, the spongy tissue inside bones where blood cells are made. After counseling, he was started high dose chemotherapy. During chemotherapy, he stayed in the hospital for approximately 3 and half weeks during which he required many blood and platelet transfusions. In view of the high-risk nature of the disease, bone marrow transplant was planned for his further care.”
In the last week of March, the most difficult time for the medical fraternity arose. It was the beginning of the Covid-19 era. Many hospitals faced complete shut down due to the presence of Covid patients. In these uncertain times, his bone marrow transplant was postponed with the fear of relapse of his disease. When things started to get better in the month of May, he was again planned for a bone marrow transplant. During this time, he had a spike of fever.
“He got the second shock of his life when his Covid-19 test came out to be positive. So, the plan for his transplant went on the toss. He recovered well from his Covid-19 after 2 weeks of treatment. Because of the Covid-19 infection, his due course of treatment was deferred. So finally, in July 2020 when he was on verge of relapse, he was taken for allogeneic bone marrow transplant. His brother who was his stem cell donor had to travel to Mumbai despite lockdown.
Bone marrow transplant is a curative procedure for certain types of blood cancers. In which stem cells are taken from a healthy donor who is HLA matched with the patient. These stem cells are given to the patient. Prior to this, a high dose drug regimen is given to the patient which is known as a conditioning regimen.
This conditioning regimen kills all existing cancer cells in patients’ bone marrow. New cells from the donor make home to this empty bone marrow and start producing healthy blood. The patient had to stay in the hospital for a month,” said Dr. Kshirsagar.
” The second set of those three magical words which suddenly changed everything in my life were ” You Have Cancer” The thought of what would happen to family was the most worrisome thought ever. Delayed treatment due to pandemic and me testing positive for Covid-19 only added up to chaos and fear of things going wrong but Dr. Shrinath and Dr. Bhave added a lot of confidence and calmness to the madness happening around me.
The medical facilities at Global Hospital always gave us assurance about a good treatment and the Nursing staff in BMT took care of me just like my family would have,” said patient Mr. Shrikant Rajemahadik.
While following the strict measures to restrict the virus, we have taken every measure to ensure the safe treatment to non-Covid patients as well. In this particular case, the donor had to travel from another city amid lockdown. Nevertheless, we were able to do the procedure on time and save the patient’s life.
Management of patients transplanted during a pandemic is very complex. However, the medical team at Global Hospital is skilled to handle complicated cases with much ease irrespective of the challenges, concluded Dr. Vivek Talaulikar, Chief Executive Officer, Global Hospital, Mumbai.