Karnataka doctors cross Tamil Nadu border on foot to save man’s life

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Here’s a heartwarming story amid the Cauvery unrest. A team of doctors from Bengaluru along with an ailing patient requiring liver transplant travelled to Tamil Nadu around 1am Thursday in the cover of darkness and successfully completed the surgery by Thursday evening.

Ban orders were in force when the liver transplant team from Manipal Hospital, led by consultant hepatologist Dr A Olithselvan, decided to stick to their Hippocratic Oath and save the life of a 55-year-old diabetic resident from Nagpur, Maharashtra. Suffering from liver disease, he was waiting for a transplant for two years. The donor’s family was from Tamil Nadu’s Erode.

Dr Olithselvan said, “It would have been very easy to decline the liver offer from Tamil Nadu, given the tension in both states. If we had done that, we would have disregarded the donor’s wish of gifting a new life in death. We were tense, but decided to ignore the risk to the medical team.”

The donor, who had suffered head injuries in a crash two days ago, was declared brain-dead on Wednesday .This set off a post-midnightmedical mission fraught with incalculable risks. The journey from Bengaluru to Salem was four hours, but “it seemed like an eternity, a travel across two nations”, the doctor said.”With the recipient, we travelled in a Karnataka-registered ambulance till the Tamil Nadu border. There, we hopped off the vehicle. Left with no option, we tore off the wheelchair fixed to the ambulance, made the recipient sit on it and wheeled it for a kilometre in the darkness till we crossed the border and reached a TN registered ambulance waiting for us. The 30-minute walk seemed endless. The cops manning the border were left dumbstruck,” he said.

The team reached Salem’s Manipal Hospital at 3 am. After a 12-hour surgery, the recipient is doing well.”When we looked at him and his joyous family, we realized our efforts were worth the risk,” Dr Olithselvan said.

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