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SSKM mulls free heart transplants for patients

Kolkata: In a unique move, the SSKM Hospital authorities are planning to perform heart transplantations on patients free of costs.
According to a senior official of the hospital, they would submit a detailed project report to the Swasthya Bhawan before Puja this year.
A survey is being carried out in this regard considering various aspects. SSKM is the first state-run hospital in the state where heart transplantations would be carried out. Kidney transplants are being performed in the hospital for quite sometime.
As a part of the new initiative, a heart failure clinic will open up at the Cardiology department of the hospital in May this year. The doctors at the cardiology department of the hospital will examine and treat the heart failure patients at the clinic. A senior official of the hospital said the doctors would try to cure heart related problems of the patients through medicines. Those who would require heart transplantations would be referred to the heart transplantation unit which would come up at the cardiothoracic vascular surgery (CTVS) department of the hospital.
According to the hospital authorities, apart from setting up a heart failure clinic which would be made operational within the next month, the operation theater at the CTVS department must be upgraded for conducting the heart transplantations. Work is in progress to increase the infrastructure of the hospital. The main purpose of the project, taken by the state government, is to provide benefits to the patients who cannot afford the treatment from private establishments in the country.
A senior official of the hospital said all necessary infrastructure will be built in such a manner that heart transplantations can be performed successfully on patients. The hospital will not take any unnecessary risks in this regard. It would take adequate time before examining all the pros and cons of performing the surgeries. After the hospital authorities submit their proposal to the Swasthya Bhawan, the senior health department officials would carry out an inspection examining the infrastructure of the hospital.
A list of patients requiring heart transplantations would be prepared by the hospital authorities so that patients or their family members can register their names. Dr Prof Ajay Kumar Ray, Director of the SSKM Hospital said: "We have a plan to start heart transplantation unit in the hospital. We would send a proposal to the health department for its clearance. A large number of patients requiring heart transplantation can be provided free treatment once the hospital gets clearance."
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