Army to start intestine transplant facility soon

In a first for the country, the armed forces are set to have an intestinal transplant facility at a top hospital in the capital as early as next month, a need that was highlighted after the 23-year-old Delhi gangrape victim had to be shifted to Singapore for treatment.

A top official of the Armed Forces Medical Services said Friday the complex transplant could soon take place at the Research and Referral hospital in New Delhi and clearances are being sought to start it.

"We are already in the process of starting the intestinal transplant facility. No such facility exists in the country at this time," Director General AFMS, Air Marshal D P Joshi, said.

Joshi said that a team from the Health ministry would visit the hospital soon before giving permission to start the facility. "We have already applied to the government to start it in January. The team may come to inspect the R&R and we have adequately trained people who will do the needful," he said.

While armed forces doctors refused to comment on the rape victim's medical condition, they were all praise for Safdurjung hospital for its handling of the complex case. A top doctor said the severe shortage of doctors was the reason for the absence of such a transplant facility in India.

"The main reason why we have not had it so far is the total shortage of doctors... The number of patients who require this treatment is also very small," said Director General Medical Services (Navy), Surgeon Vice-Admiral A C Anand, a trained intestinal transplant specialist.

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