Doctors At Max Hospital Gift A New Lease Of Life To 19-Month-Old Suffering Rare Liver Cancer Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Some of the most common signs of this disease are mass in the belly, a swollen and painful abdomen, loss of appetite, weight loss etc. which were all present in Kanha’s case as well

Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, one of the leading healthcare providers in North India gave a new lease of life to Kanha Tiwari, a 19-month-year -old boy, diagnosed with Hepatoblastoma. The diagnosis came as a major setback to the parents who had tragically lost their first born to a still birth in 2015. To add to their woes, a grim prognosis by doctors back home and a nation-wide lockdown soon after meant only a task uphill to get better treatment opportunities.

Kanha was diagnosed with the very rare malignant liver cancer, occurring in infants and children Such tumours have a high risk of the cancer spreading  beyond the liver rapidly, the team of doctors at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket led by Prof (Dr.) Subhash Gupta, Chairman – Centre for Liver & Biliary Sciences were able to successfully treat and remove the tumour completely. The family hailing from a small town between Lucknow and Gorakhpur were already tensed with the deteriorating condition of their son when the doctors of a local hospital gave them a poor prognosis.

One of the doctors contacted Dr Sharat Varma, pediatric liver specialist at Max Healthcare and the child was asked to come to to Delhi urgently as his tumor had already spread to the lungs. They reached Delhi by road and visited Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket in January 2020. After proper evaluation and complete examination, Kanha was put on Chemotherapy immediately in order to shrink the tumour. The six sessions of chemotherapy worked, and his liver transplant was scheduled for 17th April 2020.

Meanwhile, a nation-wide lockdown was imposed on 25th March 2020 making the situation for the family even more difficult as they got stuck in Delhi. The condition of Kanha became dangerous as doctors could not wait any longer as the chemotherapy had stopped, and the tumour could recur which would have made the transplant non-viable in such situations.

Therefore, the surgery was no more an option but an emergency. Hence, Max Healthcare got special approval from the Liver Transplant Authorisation Committee to conduct the liver transplant as a life-saving procedure. The family has a humble background with the father as the sole breadwinner, working  and was substantially helped financially by the hospital so as to minimize the economic burden on the family. The 12-hour transplant surgery was carried out successfully on 22nd April 2020 and Kanha was discharged within three weeks post-surgery on 12th May 2020.

Speaking about the case, Prof (Dr.) Subhash Gupta, Chairman – Centre for Liver & Biliary Sciences, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket says, “This particular case was a challenge from many aspects:  Medically, the timing was correct for transplant as the tumour had common under control with great difficulty even though it had spread to the lungs,  Socially,  the timing was a disaster as it was right in the middle of LOCKDOWN, Psychologically, the worst time for a high risk transplant with  fear of COVID 19 infection post-transplant, Financially the family was reeling under the economic fallout of Lockdown and Logistically a complete mayhem in trying to persuade the blood donors to come to the hospital.

“We are grateful to Max hospital management to facilitate this complex procedure and for hand holding the family through their difficult period when they had 2 family members in the operating theatre.” Dr. Sharat Varma, Principal Consultant – Paediatric Hepatology, Liver Transplant & Gastroenterology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket says, “Hepatoblastoma, an uncommon liver cancer is most commonly diagnosed during a child’s first three years of life.

Some of the most common signs of this disease are mass in the belly, a swollen and painful abdomen, loss of appetite, weight loss etc. which were all present in Kanha’s case as well. As I do a regular clinic in Lucknow, the doctors there contacted us as soon as possible and that helped in starting the treatment early. His case was undoubtedly was an extremely complicated liver transplant case given the ongoing situation of COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown.

However, we were determined to do our best in order to ensure that the child has his normal life back again and the family goes back home happy. ” Kanha is doing well now and has gone back to his normal routine of playing and learning at home. The family plans to travel back home by end of May.  Centre for Liver & Biliary Sciences, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket is one of the leading providers of pediatric liver transplant service in the country and in Asia.

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