Tuesday, 28 March, 2023

Two get back eyesight with Sarah’s corneas

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 30 January, 2023 12:00 AM
  • Print news

Two people have regained their eyesight with the transplant of corneas donated by young girl Sarah Islam before her death into their eyes and they are now doing well.

Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Prof Dr Md Sharfuddin Ahmed came up with the information after examining the eyes of Mohammad Sujon, 23, and Ferdous Akhtar, 56, the two beneficiaries.

He said they will be released from the hospital soon as they have recovered.

Ferdous had a problem in her right eye since 2016 due to an unknown virus. Since then, she could not see anything. Despite visiting different public and private hospitals, she found no solution.

Later, BSMMU associate professor Dr Mohammad Sheesh Rahman suggested seven years ago that she transplant cornea. However, she had not been able to do that due to the unavailability of cornea.

Ferdous had paid Tk 50,000 in advance to purchase the cornea. Dr Rahman called her and asked to come to Dhaka after Sarah decided to donate her corneas.

Sujon’s eye surgery was led by BSMMU’s Ophthalmology department assistant professor Dr Rajashree Das.

Sharfuddin briefed reporters accompanied by the two successful ophthalmological surgeons.

“Sarah Islam, who set a unique example in the history of Bangladesh’s medical science, hasn’t died. Two kidney patients have returned to normal life with her organs while two others have got back their eyesight with her corneas,” he said.

“Four people are dreaming of a new life with the organs donated by Sarah. This is a milestone in the country’s medical services,” the BSMMU vice-chancellor added.

Urging all to follow Sarah’s footstep, he said the young girl will always be remembered with gratitude.

The renowned ophthalmologist said, “Sarah’s mother Shabnam Sultana will be made the brand ambassador of our cadaveric programme. If the cadaveric programme is implemented in the country, the tendency of patients to go abroad will be greatly reduced and a lot of money will be saved. At the same time, many patients who have given up their hope of life will be able to start their life afresh.”

Sarah, a 20-year-old first year fine arts student at University of Development Alternative (UDA), had been suffering from tuberous sclerosis, a rare incurable genetic disease, for the last 19 years.

Before her death, she wished to donate her organs for other patients who are struggling to survive for lack of the respective organs. Later, her brave mother gave doctors consent to use her daughter’s organs for the benefit of others.

Sarah was pronounced clinically dead on January 18 evening at the intensive care unit of BSMMU.

Doctors conducted cadaveric kidney and cornea transplants on the same day.

The Posthumous Organ Donation Act of 2018 legalised the donation of important organs, including kidney, liver and cornea, but there was no history of donating anything other than cornea.