A new lease of life to a 17-year-old school student from Villupuram

Apollo Hospital gives a new lease of life to a 17-year-old school student from Villupuram who had ingested Rat kill poison in a suicide attempt. Dr. Joy Varghese (Hepatologist and Liver transplant physician) & Dr Mohammed Nayeem (Unit Head, Liver Transplant Surgeon) acted promptly and saved the boy by performing live donor liver transplantation within 36 hours of admission to the hospital, with the help of Tamil Nadu Health System Project, DMS office and Directorate of Medical Education, Chennai

In Tamil Nadu, as many as 25 per cent of all deaths in 15-39 year age group are caused due to self-harm according to a report published by the Indian Council for Medical Research and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. In rural regions, poisoning due to pesticide ingestion accounts for four in 10 suicides making it the most common mode of suicide. The suicide rate is high in villages as the country has a large agriculture sector and 60 per cent of its population depends on farming for earning livelihood. Many Indian farmers store their pesticides at home for easy reach, making it accessible for suicide.

Most of the hospitals and healthcare centers have reported to have attended to emergency cases of Rat kill poison ingestion. In one such similar incidence, Ram (Name changed) a class XI student from Villupuram was brought to Apollo Hospitals Chennai in an unconscious state with symptoms of poison ingestion early this month. The patient started to show symptoms only after four days of consuming the poison as is usual the case with Rat kill poison. The emergency team of specialists put him on ventilator & transferred the patient to liver ICU immediately.

Dr. Joy Varghese, Hepatologist & Liver Transplant Physician, Apollo Hospitals Chennai, said “Rat poison contains multiple chemicals that work together to kill rodents; however, these substances are also lethal to humans if ingested. The presentation of symptoms and the time of manifestation of symptoms varies and depends upon the amount of rat poison ingested. One of the rat poison effect on humans is in the form of liver failure. It may lead to coma, as a result of encephalopathy. Any buildup of toxins in the brain may result in brain damage and lead to serious consequences. It can also cause difficulty in breathing, tightness in the chest, and cough. Some people also develop pulmonary edema, along with irregular heartbeat, cardiomyopathy, and weakening of the heart muscles. The liver damage reduces the clotting property of the blood, resulting in blood oozing out from all parts of the body.”

Patient Ram (name changed) was in need of emergency liver transplantation due to acute liver failure. He was initially subjected to Plasma exchange to reduce the toxic level of poison from the body which was performed for 3 to 4 hours for initial stabilization since his liver was completely damaged. Liver transplant was the only way out and his mother voluntarily donated 40% of her liver to save him. After a 10-hour long transplant procedure the patient was saved. Dr. Nayeem, Liver Transplant Surgeon, Apollo Hospitals added.

Apollo Hospitals has always been committed to the society and through this successful lifesaving procedure, the Apollo group would like to bring public awareness on the life threatening effects of this pesticide. Rat kill poison (paste or powder form) is readily available in rural Tamil Nadu / India and consumes several lives either intentionally or by accidental ingestion. Increase in public and physician awareness to this lethal toxin and implementation of preventive policies is of utmost importance. Apollo Hospitals exhorts the government to take necessary measures to limit the access to such pesticides, thereby help reduce the occurrence of such untoward incidents.

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