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Updated: April 15, 2014 12:55 IST

The French woman who gifted three lives

  • Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar
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68-year-old Marie-Thérèse was declared brain dead

When Marie-Thérèse Hampartzoumian of France came to India with her family, she was like any other tourist who had the Taj Mahal on her must-see list.

But, the trip, which proved to be her last, turned godsend for three Indians, two women and a soldier, who have been transplanted with her organs.

On March 14, Marie suffered a severe headache and lost consciousness while taking a bath. She was immediately rushed to Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, where she was diagnosed with brain damage.

Later, she was declared brain dead.

But as her other organs were functioning, Dr. J.D. Mukherjee, Director of Neurology, convinced her family members – husband and son – to donate these.

Her 41-year-old son Sebastien, while talking about his mother, said, “She was a beautiful 68-year-old lady, who worked at the French Finance Ministry. She retired in 2006 and was enjoying her life travelling, trekking, dancing, etc. She was very committed to helping people. Every time we would talk about life, she would mention her wish to die without suffering and with her family around her. Knowing her, we were certain that she would have loved to have help people by giving something from her that could enable them to lead a better life.”

On the decision to donate her organs, he added: “It wasn’t easy for us to accept that she was brain dead. However, we decided to fulfil her wish by donating her organs, so that she can help save other precious lives. By donating her kidneys and liver, we made an eternal gift to three Indians.”

One of the kidneys went to a 54-year-old resident of Safdarjung Enclave who had been diagnosed with kidney disease way back in 2004 and had been undergoing dialysis for close to two years. Since there was no matching donor in the family, she was desperately waiting for a donor.

On March 14, her family received a life-changing phone call from the hospital informing about the availability of a donor kidney.

With her blood group and other vitals matching those of Marie’s, everything fell in place and she came out smiling after a successful surgery.

The other recipient was a 45-year-old woman, who had been suffering with chronic kidney disease for the past five years and was undergoing dialysis.

With her husband diagnosed with lymphoma and Hepatitis B, her family did not have a potential donor.

She is now back to work, thanks to the organ donated by Marie.

As for the liver, it went to a 38-year-old serving soldier in the Indian Army who needed an urgent transplant.

While his wife was keen to donate, her vital parameters had not matched and there was no matching donor in the extended family.

But now he has been transplanted with Marie’s liver and is on his way to recovery.

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