UAE boys get new lives after heart transplants in India

UAE boys get new lives after heart transplants in India
Dr Sandeep Attawar (right), Chairman of Cardiac Surgery at Gleneagles, with the Emirati patients.

Abu Dhabi - "I had lost hope that my sons would be given the opportunity to live and walk again," the father said.

By Jasmine Al Kuttab

Published: Mon 7 Aug 2017, 5:51 PM

The Emirati father of two teenage boys, who underwent heart transplant surgeries in India, said his sons were not only given new hearts but new lives.

During the sidelines of an exclusive transplantation discussion at Burjeel Hospital on Sunday, the father of 10, Sultan Khamees Al Yihaee, said he hopes his other eight children -- who also tragically suffer from genetic heart disease -- will have the chance to have heart transplantations in the UAE, should they ever face the same darkness their brothers endured.

"I actually lost hope at one moment, I lost hope that my sons would be given the opportunity to live and walk again, but thank God everything changed."

"We have been given a new opportunity - a new life."

He said any parent witnessing his or her child suffer, causes an indescribable emotion.

"To be honest, I can never describe to you how I feel as a father."

"When you see your son almost lose his life, when a doctor tells you that there is no way your son will live longer than one or two months - but then everything turns and you see your boy living his life, eating, walking, playing - I believe these emotions and feelings I have as a parent are simply indescribable."

The father of five boys (one who passed away) and six girls, said all his children suffer from the familial cardiomyopathy. However, his son's conditions are more severe than his daughters.

19-year-old Hamed and 17-year-old Mohammed Sultan Khamees Al Yihaee were taken to Gleneagles Global Health City Hospital in Chennai for their heart surgeries, which took place in March and April.

The family's history of the disease lead to the tragic loss of Mohammed's twin brother back in 2013.

"One of my sons passed away in 2013, he was waiting for a heart transplant in the US, but he could not get it."

"We went to seven or eight different countries looking for a cure and a solution to decrease the pain that our children have been suffering from."

"Thank God we came across Dr Sandeep, who has been nothing but helpful, cooperative, professional and caring."

Dr Sandeep Attawar, Chairman of Cardiac Surgery at Gleneagles, said the siblings, who he operated on, have become like his own family during their four months of stay in India.

"We shared their pain and the anxiety they felt in a foreign country, during an extreme unhealthy situation, while eagerly waiting for an organ - which came right in the middle of the night, in the most unexpected circumstance."

He said each operation took almost five hours.

"Hamed was airlifted to India and was in a very bad shape. He needed to be stabilised to be a suitable candidate for the transplant."

Dr Sandeep said a criteria for organ transplantation is if the patient suffers from a secondary organ dysfunction. Hamed was experiencing a sudden liver shock, which was caused by a shortage in blood and oxygen.

His surgery took place during the first week of March, just weeks before that of his younger brother Mohammed.

"Patients who survive the first 30 days after the heart transplant will have normal recoveries, although they don't have neural connections - but with training, the neural connections become possible."

"Keeping the heart in the same situation as it is right now, is our top priority. Therefore, aggressive monitoring and close observation is required."

Dr Sandeep said he sees a hopeful and bright future for the two brothers.

"Some patients with heart transplants have even run marathons."

He said the sibling's case is a beacon of hope for the many organ transplant patients eagerly waiting for a new lease on life.

"We need to ensure the boys continue to be healthy active citizens for their country and become a ray of hope for many other patients who continue to live in complete darkness of options that are available for patients of advanced heart failure."

The boys' father said he hopes no more parents will have to witness losing their children due to organ failure.

"When you see your child pass away from a disease that all your other children suffer from, it makes you lose hope. But I am truly happy with how healthy and happy my boys are now and our nation has helped a lot."

"Opening the organ transplantation units in the UAE will help more families have new chances in life."

More news from