A day after former Pakistan hockey team captain Mansoor Ahmed sought a heart transplant in India, the Chennai Hockey Association volunteered help, and leading surgeons in Chennai confirmed they had been contacted by his doctors, reports said.
“Mansoor Ahmed’s doctors have sent me his medical records and have asked me to help. We are looking into it,” Dr KR Balakrishnan, a senior city-based heart transplant surgeon told TOI on Tuesday. Dr Balakrishnan is currently in Palestine helping local doctors carry out heart procedures on children there.
Ahmed was Pakistan’s hockey captain in the 1990s, leading his team to World Cup triumph and Champions Trophy title in 1994. A heart patient for close to a decade, doctors had recommended a transplant for the 49-year-old following complications.
The former Pakistan skipper is being treated at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre in Karachi by Dr Choudhry Pervez, who has advised him to go for a heart transplant and referred his case to the clinics in the US and India.
If Ahmed’s wish is granted, it would still take a lot of waiting. It takes anywhere between four to six months for an overseas patient to get a heart in Chennai. A heart can be given to a foreigner only when there are no Indians on the waiting list. As per the new rules, the hospital carrying out the transplant on a foreigner has to give an undertaking that they are not overlooking any Indian in need of a heart.
It isn’t just Chennai’s medical fraternity that is extending support to the Pakistani legend. Former India captain V Baskaran, who has personally known Ahmed for years, said he was shocked when he read about his ailment.
“We lost touch over the years. Mansoor was very gutsy under the bar. From the time I got to know about his condition I have been trying to reach out to him through Shahbaz Ahmed, their former captain and current secretary of the Pakistan Hockey Federation,” Baskaran, who led India to gold in Moscow Olympics in 1980, told TOI on Tuesday.
Ahmed has made it clear that he doesn’t need any kind of financial help, all he wants a visa (on medical grounds) granted by the Indian government. According to Ahmed, chief minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif has already allocated $100,000 for his treatment, and his current hospital expenses are being borne by the former Pakistan allrounder Shahid Afridi’s foundation.
“It’s good that he has received financial support from the Punjab CM and Shahid Afridi. Even without that, we would have managed his expenses here since there are many people who have already expressed their desire to help Mansoor. Now everything depends on how smooth the visa process is. His heath is deteriorating fast and we need to act immediately. I hope Mansoor returns to normal life very soon,” Baskaran added.