Mumbai pauses to make a corridor of life

Mumbai, Aug 7 (IANS) For the second time in five days, the chaos and clutter on a stretch of Mumbai roads made way on Friday for a donated heart to be speeded across the metropolis from a donor to a recipient – covering 19 km in just 14 minutes, officials said.

The heart was harvested from a 63-year old man at MGM Hospital in Vashi in Navi Mumbai, and was taken to Fortis Hospital in Mulund in north-east Mumbai, to be transplanted to a 29-year-old recipient.

Chipping in for the noble cause, Mumbai and Navi Mumbai traffic police authorities collaborated to create a ‘green corridor’ and enable the donated organ to reach its destination in the shortest possible time.

It was no doubt a tall order, considering the morning peak hour and congestion on the Vashi-Mumbai routes, but the effort paid off in the end.

A heart transplant must take place within four hours of the harvest, and sooner the better, medicos said.

Mumbai Police swung into action along with Navi Mumbai counterparts after the request for making suitable arrangements at around 3.45 a.m. on Friday.

“They readied a route plan within 20 minutes, including diversions and clearing congested roads, stalling traffic signals and synchronising all other aspects,” an official said.

“It is extremely heartening to see the city’s second heart transplant in less than a week – while the organ donation month awareness is underway,” said Fortis Healthcare Regional Director Sukhmeet Sandhu.

The hospital’s chief cardiac surgeon Dr Anvay Mulay said the recipient will be under observation for the next one-two days.

This was the second heart transplant in the city after a gap of 47 long years.

The first one after this many years was carried out last Monday in a similar well-coordinated operation when the harvested heart was taken from Jehangir Hospital, Pune, by road to the airport in the city, then to Mumbai airport and then again a road journey to Mulund’s Fortis Hospital – all in less than 90 minutes.

The country’s first heart transplant operation was carried out at Mumbai’s KEM Hospital by Dr. P.K. Sen in 1968.

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