When tragedy strikes, it’s tough to think beyond one’s own grief. But the parents of a 14-month-old boy from Surat found the courage to rise above the devastating loss of their toddler’s life, giving two unknown children a new lease of life in the process.
On Saturday, 2 September, 14-month-old Somnath Shah from Surat slipped and fell down the stairs while playing with his four-year-old sister Kusum in the evening at around 7pm. He was rushed to a local doctor in an unconscious state, who advised them to take him to a hospital immediately. At the New Civil Hospital in Surat, a CT scan revealed a brain haemorrhage and multiple fractures.
On Sunday night, he was declared brain dead.
Doctors at the hospital contacted Donate Life, a Surat-based NGO, whose representatives convinced the inconsolable parents to donate their son’s organs.
On Monday evening, the parents agreed.
On Tuesday morning, Somnath’s heart was transplanted into three-year-old Aaradhya Mule from Mumbai, suffering from viral myrocarditis for over a year. The condition had caused an inflammation in Aaradhya’s heart, slowing down its pumping rate. Due to her young age, it was proving to be very difficult to find a heart of the right size for transplantation. A social media campaign called ‘Save Aaradhya’ had been initiated six months ago to find her a heart.
His kidneys were harvested in the afternoon at the Institute of Kidney Diseases and Research Centre (IKDRC) in Ahmedabad for a 15-year-old boy from Deesa (Gujarat), who had been suffering from acute renal failure for the last 10 years.
Doctors from Mumbai’s Fortis Hospital arrived in Surat at 7.45 AM on Tuesday. By 8.40 AM, they were back in Mumbai and, at 9 AM, the transplant procedure had started on Aaradhya. She is currently reported to be critical, but stable.
“It is very difficult to gauge a patient on the first day of such a massive transplant…. We are hoping for the best,” said Dr Swati Garekar, paediatric cardiologist at Fortis Hospital.
Somnath’s parents intend to visit Aaradhya in Mumbai once his last rites have been performed. “God was gracious to bless us with a son last year. But we never thought he would leave us so early. So what if we have lost him? He still lives in Aaradhya,” said Somnath’s father, Sunil Shah. Aaradhya’s aunt, Ashwini Kawade, said that they were looking forward to meeting Somnath’s family.
Somnath’s family had moved from Bihar to Surat a few months ago. Sunil Shah worked as a supervisor in a power loom in Surat’s Udhna area.