Over the past week, a total of 16 corneal transplants were conducted at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) by a team of visiting specialists from the US-based Subraj Foundation.
The team, headed by Dr Rahul Jindal, has been visiting Guyana since 2008 and already has a record of completing 26 kidney transplants, while facilitating the completion of 41 corneal transplants at GPHC since 2015. According to information provided, around 70% of the patients who have benefited from the transplants to date have been doing fairly well with clear corneas post-transplants.
Visting corneal transplant surgeon Dr Joseph Pasternak informed that while the outcome of a corneal transplant does not necessarily translate into the restoration of vision for everyone, patients would no longer be in pain. “The outcome of a cornea transplant takes a number of months before we know exactly how those patients will come out. Our hope is that this mission would continue,” he told a gathering yesterday at the GPHC’s resource centre.
Pasternak, who has been instrumental in procuring donations of human corneal tissue from eye banks in the USA, also stated that while 60 patients were screened, only 16 corneas were available to conduct the transplants.
The cornea is the transparent layer forming the front of the eye. A cornea transplant is a surgical procedure done to remove all or part of a cloudy or abnormally shaped cornea and replace it with a healthy donor’s cornea. Generally, corneal transplants are performed to improve vision.
The corneal transplant mission is entirely funded by the Subraj Foundation Transplant team, founded by the late George Subraj. It was Subraj who was instrumental in having the first kidney transplant done at the GPHC.
Following his passing, his family continues on the trail of conducting these yearly missions to Guyana, with this year’s trip being the twenty-fifth. Yesterday, the family also handed over a quantity of surgical instruments and corneas to the GPHC.
Chairperson of the GPHC Board Kesaundra Alves expressed appreciation to the team for their continuous support to the institution. “The GPHC thanks the Subraj Foundation once again…We would like to say thank you for the work and contribution of the Subraj family and we know the legacy of the family will live on through the profound impact of their work and contributions,” she said.
In short remarks, Vice President of the foundation, Tony Subraj said it will continue to lend support to the GPHC along with the Ministry of Public Health.