Dr. Fasial Dar is the pioneer of liver transplantation in Pakistan. In 2010 he conducted the first ever transplant for a 9 year old boy at Shifa International Hospital. He and his team completed 200 transplant surgeries in Pakistan.
Allama Iqbal Medical College is where I received my medical degree. The Fellow of College of Physicians & Surgeons from Pakistan is anywayanyday. I went to Ireland for my fellowship. This was followed by a fellowship in Pancreatic surgery from Kings College London School of Medicine, UK. I am a Fellow of the European Board in Transplant Surgery. District Gujrat. I completed my basic education there and went to college there.
After completing my house job, I decided to go for my fellowship in general surgery because surgery was my passion since the beginning. I went to the UK for further training in 2003 after completing my training and exams. I decided to go for this specialty because of the huge need for this facility in Pakistan. My family wanted me to join the Pakistan Army, but I decided to become a doctor. It was easy for my family to let me follow my calling since I qualified the merit list for medical college.
After completing my training at King’s College Hospital, London, I decided to come back to Pakistan and start a transplant program in my country. I was fortunate to have good colleagues and the management who supported me in getting the basic work done before the transplant on April 30th. It was a great honor for me to be the pioneer of liver transplantation in Pakistan and it was a very happy and emotional moment.
The first transplant in humans was in 1963. After two decades of evolution and scientific work, it was in 1983 that the standard treatment for failure of the bile duct was accepted as a transplant. Huge number of transplants are carried out across the world. The techniques and procedures for living donor liver transplant got matured by 2000 and are now the standard option for patients with liver failure in countries where donations after brain death are not accepted.
One of the most complex operations in the medical field is aliver transplant. There are some minimal standards that need to be followed in order to conduct a transplant. It is not possible to do a successful transplant without the highest level of skill and basic set standards. Someone has to pay for the operation. Most of the patients pay their own way. Some are funded by the insurance companies, some by the Government and some by NGOs.
Patients are assessed to determine if they are a good candidate for a liver transplant. Any patient who has a chronic disease, such as hepatitis B & C, or suffers from an acute disease, such as hepatitis E, A or other Viruses, drugs or toxins, can benefit from treatment. Patients who are not able to go through a major operation due to severe heart or lung disease, or patients who have advanced cancer are not considered for a transplant.
As the world has become a global village and access to technology has been made easier, technology is not a big issue. The human resources are the most important factor. Pakistan needs expat doctors to come back and teach the future generations how to use the latest treatments in the world.
Pakistan is a beautiful place. The natural beauty of the area includes landscapes, deserts, rivers, planes and the mighty mountains. Pakistan’s people are known for their kindness.
Pakistan faces brain drain in the medical field. What is your opinion on the problem and what is the solution to it? The story that had an impact on me and is close to my heart is from our first liver transplant. A boy who was in need of a transplant was the patient. None of the family members had a matching blood group for them to donate a part of their liver to save his life, as he was the only son after seven daughters. Humaira volunteered to go through an operation to save her cousin’s life. The courage of this young girl, the bond of the family, and the faith they had on us was amazing. It has been three years since the two of them were living a normal life.
I believe that doctors who improve their skills should return to serve Pakistan. The Government has a lot of responsibility to improve the public sector hospitals and redefine the service structure for doctors. If our hospitals are upgraded and the doctors are offered decent salaries, I think a lot of doctors would prefer to come back home. I think that exposure to the Western world is a must for Pakistan’s doctors, as it enhances their medical knowledge and grooms them. This exposure adds to their confidence and teaches them better patient care procedures.
Our youth wants to work for a better future and is really talented. The country is hampered by corruption, bad governance and terrorism that are obstacles in the materializing of its true potential. I hope to play a role in breaking these shekels and helping our younger generation realize their dreams.