Doctors in Thailand and in his home country Myanmar did not give him more than six months to live, but 63-year-old Yacoob Zamal found hope and new life in a Delhi hospital which successfully conducted a live donor liver transplant.
The businessman from Mandalay underwent a 10-hour liver transplant surgery at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, a leading private hospital in the capital, about a month ago and is now getting ready to return home.
"When I came to India one-and-a-half months ago, I could not take any solid food. The pain was acute and I was suffering from psychological trauma as doctors had told me that my life may not last beyond six months," Yacoob told IANS.
"On Oct 31, my liver was removed completely and my nephew donated a part of his liver. Now I am feeling completely comfortable and have started taking normal food," Yacoob said animatedly while eating a four-course lunch of dal, rice, cauliflower and curd.
Yacoob has been living with uncertainty since 1998. He first consulted doctors in Myanmar and then went to Thailand for treatment.
"Though I got temporary relief from every single treatment, there was no permanent relief," he said, adding that he had even tried naturopathy from China.
Before coming to India, he had spent over 10 million kyats ($1.5 million) on his health.
Hope dawned when some doctors in Thailand told him about medical facilities in India and the prowess of its doctors in handling a live donor liver transplant.
In a live donor transplant, the patient and the donor are kept in two parallel operation theatres and a part of the donor's liver, the only regenerative organ in the body, is taken away and implanted in the receiver's body. A donor needs to be between the ages of 18-55 with weight ranging from a minimum 55 kg to maximum 85 kg.
Said A.S. Soin, chief liver transplant surgeon at Ganga Ram: "Yacoob had lost a lot of weight when he reached our hospital. But he has regained his health with due care."
"Initially we thought that surgery was not required but decided to operate on him after a flurry of tests. There was a lot of swelling in his belly initially, but he has recovered well in the last month and should return home in the next two weeks," he added.
Soin said their hospital has done over 100 liver transplants in the last five years with 58 cases this year.