Chennai, April 25 (TOI/BBC): 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.
“Mansoor Ahmed’s doctors have sent me his medical records and have asked me to help. We are looking into it,” Dr K.R.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 Center 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.
“When I played hockey as a young man, I broke many Indian hearts,” Ahmed told the news channel Sports Talk, which published the video on YouTube.
He then directly appealed to India’s foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, asking her to grant him a visa as soon as possible.
Ahmed is considered a hockey legend in Pakistan. He was a goalkeeper in the national team and represented his country in more than 300 international matches.
He won a bronze medal in the 1992 Olympics and was part of the team that won the hockey world cup in 1994 in Sydney.
Ahmed added that he would like to return to India, where he had played and won many matches, and that he looked forward to meeting former India hockey captain Dhanraj Pillay, who he competed against.