Indian expat saves 4-yr-old daughter’s life in UAE’s first paediatric liver transplant

News Network
July 10, 2024

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Indian expat Imran Khan was ready to do anything for his four-year-old child who was suffering from a rare genetic condition. He donated a portion of his liver: a gift that would give his daughter Razia a normal childhood.

A 12-hour surgery — considered the UAE's first living-donor paediatric liver transplant — was performed at Burjeel Medical City (BMC), Abu Dhabi, saving the life of Razia.

The child was diagnosed with a rare genetic liver condition called progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis type 3 (PFIC). Imran and his wife were familiar with the devastating effects of PFIC — having lost their first daughter to the same condition three years ago.

“We had suffered the heartbreak of losing our first girl at our native place of Hyderabad. We didn’t want to lose another. We were anxious but careful, too, and discovered the condition early,” Imran, a UAE resident for 14 years and father to 3 boys and a girl, said.

Early signs

Razia, born in Abu Dhabi, started exhibiting symptoms like yellow eyes, gum bleeding, and extreme tiredness when she was just three months old. The parents immediately consulted doctors.

“Getting a transplant was the best available option. So, we were planning to do the transplant in India but lately came to know it is possible here in the UAE. BMC is near our home and offers an airlift service in case of an emergency,” said Imran, who lives in Abu Dhabi's Mohamed Bin Zayed City.

Razia was given medication and advised regular check-ups till she was old enough for a liver transplant.

Three months ago, a check-up revealed that Razia’s spleen and liver had enlarged, so doctors said it was time to consider a transplant.

Dr Rehan Saif, director of transplant surgery for Burjeel abdominal multi-organ transplant programme, said Razia’s condition was caused by a genetic mutation, which leads to an abnormality in the formation and secretion of bile components and bile acids leading to damage to the liver.

“It presents in infancy and early childhood as signs of growth failure and complications of liver failure. The only definitive and curative treatment for these children is liver transplantation,” said Dr Rehan, the clinical lead for the hepato-pancreato-biliary surgery and general surgery consultant.

A life-saving gift

Imran said that as a father and a husband, becoming a donor was an easy decision to make.

“We didn’t want to lose our daughter. Also, I wanted to keep my wife safe. She is a mother to other children, too. It was an automatic decision. The evaluation tests showed me as a match," he said.

The donor operation and the transplant were performed simultaneously by a team of experts in surgeries lasting 12 hours, Dr Rehan said.

“This is the first paediatric liver transplant done in the UAE. In the past, children needing such a transplant had to travel abroad, but now it is available here in the country. It’s a proud moment for all of us.”

The transplant team, led by Dr Rehan, included Dr Johns Mathew, abdominal transplant and hepato-pancreato-biliary surgeon; Dr Gourab Sen, general surgery consultant; Dr Ramamurthy Baskaran, anaesthesiology and transplant anaesthesia consultant; Dr Kesava Ramakrishnan, paediatric intensive care unit consultant; and Dr Shyam Mohan, paediatric radiologist.

“Both of them made an excellent recovery, and the child has been discharged two weeks ago. We expect her to have a normal childhood,” Dr Rehan said.

Ready for school

Before the transplant, Razia’s condition prevented her from attending nursery and achieving growth milestones appropriate for her age. Now, the parents and the young fighter are preparing for the new school year.

“She has battled a lot of hardships. We are proud of her. She knows that I have donated my liver to her. I have explained to her what and why she has gone through such a situation,” Imran said.

Razia is recovering well and has started playing with her siblings. “She is better. She walks, plays, and is happy. I am thankful to everyone. This surgery has come as a huge relief. We are proud of being part of the UAE’s history,” Imran said.

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News Network
July 7,2024

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At least five journalists have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on different places across the Gaza Strip over the last 24 hours. 

The Gaza media office said Saturday that the regime's forces killed three journalists in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the center of the territory.

Two of those who were killed in the camp were from the Palestine Media Agency. The other journalist was from the Islamic University Radio in Gaza.

Two more journalists were also killed in separate attacks in Gaza City, said the media office.

The latest deaths take the number of journalists killed in the besieged Palestinian territory since October to 158.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Israel’s military campaign on the Gaza Strip has become "the bloodiest for journalists" since the committee began documenting journalist killings worldwide in 1992.

The New York-based NGO said that media workers are being killed in the regime’s bombardment of the Palestinian territory at a rate with no parallel in modern history.

The committee put the number of media workers killed as of July 5 at 108 since the war began, also making it the deadliest period since the group began gathering data in 1992.

UN experts have previously warned about “the extraordinarily high numbers of journalists and media workers who have been killed, attacked, injured and detained in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” 

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News Network
July 3,2024

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Twelve former US officials have denounced President Joe Biden’s policies on Gaza as “a failure and a threat” to the country’s national security, calling on the government to overhaul them and use all "available leverage” to bring the ongoing war to an immediate end.

The 12 signatories who quit their posts over Biden’s controversial approach made the remarks in a joint public statement titled "Service in Dissent" which was released on Tuesday in conjunction with Independence Day, known colloquially as the Fourth of July.

“Each of us has sworn an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and as our nation celebrates its Independence Day, each of us are reminded that we resigned from government not to terminate that oath but to continue to abide by it; not to end our commitment to service, but to extend it,” the former officials said.

“This failed policy has not achieved its stated objectives,” they said, noting that it has not brought safety to the Israeli regime and has rather been “devastating for the Palestinian people, ensuring a vicious cycle of poverty and hopelessness, with all the implications of that cycle, for generations to come.”

The signatories went on to say, “As a group of dedicated Americans in service of our country, we insist that there is another way,” outlining steps to ensure that a "catastrophic policy failure like this can never happen again."

The ex-officials also argued that the US policy toward Gaza has “been deeply damaging” not only for US relations in the region, but also for the country’s global credibility.

The former officials further noted that US’ continuous flow of arms to Israel has ensured the country’s “undeniable complicity in the killings and forced starvation of a besieged Palestinian population in Gaza.”

"This is not only morally reprehensible and in clear violation of international humanitarian law and US laws, but it has also put a target on America’s back," they added, arguing that it has put the lives of service members and diplomats at risk.

The signatories also called on Washington to use “all necessary and available leverage to bring the conflict to an immediate close”, ensure expansion of humanitarian aid to Gazans and support the self-determination of the Palestinian people.

“There is an urgent need for change in the organizational cultures and structures that have enabled the current US approach,” they stressed, calling on Washington to have transparency regarding arms transfers.

The signatories further stated they “stand united in a shared belief that it is our collective responsibility to speak up,” urging their colleagues to use their voice and not to be complicit.

Among the signatories are Josh Paul, who oversaw Congressional relations on weapons transfers, a former White House official, two former air force department personnel and a former army officer in the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Israel launched the devastating war on Gaza on October 7 after the territory’s Palestinian resistance groups carried out a surprise retaliatory attack, dubbed Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, against the occupying entity.

Since then, the United States has supplied the Tel Aviv regime with more than 10,000 tons of military equipment, and used its veto power against all United Nations Security Council resolutions that called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The relentless Israeli military campaign against Gaza has so far killed nearly 38,000 people, most of them women and children.

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News Network
July 12,2024

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Microsoft has reportedly closed the email accounts of Palestinians living abroad, cutting off their access to online services used to contact relatives in Gaza amid the ongoing genocidal Israeli war.

Some Palestinians told the BBC on Thursday that their email accounts were closed without any explanation.

They added that this closure prevented them from accessing bank accounts, job offers, and the Skype application used to communicate with family members in the besieged Gaza.

“They killed my life online," said Eiad Hametto, who lives in Saudi Arabia.

"They’ve suspended my email account that I’ve had for nearly 20 years - It was connected to all my work.”

Hametto also said being cut off from Skype was a huge blow for his family.

Microsoft alleged that the affected users had violated its terms of service, but the Palestinians rejected the claim.

“We are civilians with no political background who just wanted to check on our families,” Hametto stressed. 

Salah Elsadi, who lives in the US, said that his Microsoft Hotmail account and all associated services were deactivated in April.

"I've had this Hotmail for 15 years," he said. "They banned me for no reason, saying I have violated their terms - what terms? Tell me. I've filled out about 50 forms and called them many many times."

Another Palestinian Khalid Obaied said he had paid for a package to make phone calls, but he was banned after 10 days for no reason.

"That means it's only because I’m a Palestinian calling Gaza,” he added.

Israel unleashed its brutal Gaza onslaught on October 7 after Hamas carried out its historic operation against the occupying entity in retaliation for the regime’s intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, the Tel Aviv regime has so far killed at least 38,345 Palestinians, mostly women and children, in Gaza, and injured 88,295 others.

The Israeli aggression has disrupted telecommunication services (landline, mobile, and internet) in the Gaza Strip. 

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