Cover Story Dr Gaurav Kharya, 38, Senior Consultant Pediatric Hematoncology and Bone Marrow Transplant, BLK Super Speciality Hospital
This young doctor was faced with the challenging task of conducting a bone marrow transplant (BMT) on a four month old baby. "The child was suffering from severe immune deficiency. This is a condition where children are born with deficient immunity and are called 'Bubble babies'. It was a very difficult situation. We sat down with the child's parents and decided of doing a half-matched BMT using the father as a donor. We went ahead and did invitro T-cell depleted haploidentical BMT for this child. He is now almost two-and-ahalf years old and doing well. He was one of the youngest BMT recipient of this country," says Dr Kharya. It was the hope of doing the extraordinary that made Dr Kharya opt for specialising in bone marrow transplant. "While I was Dr Gaurav Kharya doing my masters from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, I saw paediatric cancer patients who received treatment and became better. This was in contrast from my previous experience where cancer was considered to be death sentence and all kids diagnosed with malignancy used to die. This made me opt for paediatric oncology and BMT," says the doctor who also did the first haploidentical BMT for sickle cell disease in the country. Talking about bone marrow transplant in India, Dr Kharya says, "We still do not know how to work as a group. If we plan to do multi centre studies, our data will be so relevant but somehow we still lack it. Also, the awareness about the diseases treated with BMT and the improved outcome of BMT in recent times has not percolated deep inside."