Pioneering Paediatric Liver Transplants

Pioneering Paediatric Liver Transplants

Dr Neelam Mohan is one of India’s most quoted women doctors! On being interviewed by Double Helical on her recent honour of receiving the BC Roy National Award by the President of India, she says: “It’s been a journey that has had several hurdles, stress and sacrifices but overall it has been very satisfying.”
Having done her graduation and internship from Osmania Medical College in Hyderabad in 1990, she did her master’s degree in Paediatrics and then training in Paediatric Gastroenterology from AIIMS under Prof. M.K Bhan and N.K Arora. Despite working in the one of the best centres in India, she felt that there was much to learn especially in the organ that she was interested in: liver.
Dr Neelam Mohan left for UK in 1997 and was mentored by Dr D. Kelly, a big name in the field of Paediatric Hepatology and Liver Transplantation and Prof Ian Booth in Paediatric Gastroenterology at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, UK. She would work from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm to ensure she would get the best of learning and experience from the experts. Her efforts were truly appreciated. She returned to India in 1999 after learning more about liver transplants, paediatric liver and GI diseases. “Finding a job was an arduous task then as no one was interested in my precise domain,” recalls Dr Mohan.
“I got my first break at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH), thanks to the vision of Dr S.C. Arya (Paediatrician) and Dr. S.K Sama (Chairman SGRH & HOD (Gastroenterology). At Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, where I worked for over a decade, I got opportunity to make a rapid progress towards my professional goal and to evolve this completely new field of healthcare in India. I dedicated my heart and soul to this cause and eventually played a pioneering in liver transplant”, adds Dr Mohan.

Dr Neelam Mohan’s medical journey in her own words


I was keen to have this branch recognized by doctors first, so would travel on the weekends to different places in India, lecturing to paediatricians on this subject. Liver transplantation was first not an acceptable thought to most. There was lack of confidence in doctors and public because it had not been done in India.
Those who could afford high cost would go to USA/UK where it costed nearly Rs 70 lakh to 1 crore. I got my first break in liver transplantation in 2004, when we did the first Cadaveric reduced liver transplant in India. It was August 15th and it shall always be special besides being the Independence Day of our country.
Besides liver transplantation, I would spread awareness of various diseases of liver and gut problems and increase awareness on role of endoscopy in children and new-borns.
I didn’t get anything on a platter and had my own share of difficulties, jealousy of colleagues and had to sacrifice a lot of family time and fun time, but I’m grateful and blessed as eventually I was conferred with the prestigious Dr B C Roy National Award for best talents in encouraging the development of medical specialties, by the President of India.

2010 – 2015
I humbly say that I created India’s first unit of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Liver Transplantation at Medanta – The Medicity, on the encouragement of Dr. Naresh Trehan, Chairman & Managing Director, Medanta, a visionary in medical field. I became a part of a horizontal expansion, and we spread into various verticals besides liver transplantation and liver/ GI diseases such as motility, endoscopy, capsule endoscopy, manometry and diagnostic and therapeutic procedures with an extremely strong support of intensivits surgeons and interventional radiologists making it the first such department in the country which provided comprehensive A to Z facilities for new-borns, children and adolescents with gastrointestinal and liver diseases including the zenith of liver care that is liver transplantation. Today we have more than 200 successful paediatric liver transplants in India and we can claim to be at par with America and UK, if not better.

Milestones in the career of
Dr. Neelam Mohan
Pioneered developments in the field of liver transplant in India – credited with the maximum paediatric liver transplants in India. She’s credited with few firsts in the world such as
World’s first liver transplant in an infant with factor VII deficiency- 2010
World’s youngest domino liver transplants – 2009.
World’s first interlinked 3 paediatric living related transplants with 2 donors 2011.
South Asia’s 1st combined liver kidney transplant with 2 donors – 2007
Besides the above, she is credited with several firsts in the field of paediatric liver transplantation in India such as
1st successful cadaveric reduced liver transplant -2003,
1st successful survival of liver transplant in an acute liver failure -2004,
1st successful emergency liver transplant on a patient transported to Delhi by air ambulance in deep coma – 2005,
1st Bloodless Transplant – 2006,
1st Swap Liver Transplantation – 2009,
1st Domino liver transplant, where patient’s liver could save another child’s life -2009,
1st ABO incompatible liver transplant – 2012,
1st Liver transplant curing a baby with Citrullinemia and global delay- 2013,
Youngest liver transplantation in a 4 kg baby – 2015.
1st successful liver transplant for curing liver and associated lung failure severe Hepatopulmonary Syndrome – 2016


Other Achievements
India’s first doctor to start therapeutic endoscopic work in new-borns and young infants. Established India’s first one-year fellowship in paediatric gastroenterology, certified by the Indian Academy of Paediatrics and subsequently 2 years fellowship program in Paediatric Gastroenterology certified by National Board of Examinations (NBE). She has been the founder secretary of Indian society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ISPGHAN). It’s a matter of pride for India as she is the first Indian to be elected unanimously as Secretary (2015 -2017) and President elect for 2017 to 2019 of Commonwealth Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition (CAPGAN)

Academic Achievements
Her academic achievements have been hugely applauded and she has been invited as faculty for more than 600 presentations, lectures, oration, key note addresses in conferences in various Indian cities and outside India eg UK, USA, Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Dhaka, Saudi Arabia, Istanbul, Israel, Poland, Taiwan, Dubai, Kenya, Japan, China among others. She has to her credit 200 publications and has been among the experts writing international and national guidelines in Paediatric Hepatology.

She has 200 publications, of which 80 are international. She has edited two books on Paediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology and has authored 50 chapters in various books in her field. On editorial board of national journals; Indian Paediatrics, emedinews (India’s first national medical e-newspaper), IJCP publications, Paediatrics on Call and news channel NDTV. Presented papers and lectures at 600 forums, of which 163 are international.

As part of her social responsibility, she runs regular free clinics, health camps for children and organises health awareness seminars. These seminars are conducted for school and college going students where health awareness talks are held on basic subjects concerning nutrition, healthy liver, how to prevent hepatitis B & C spread. She founded Cherry Hill Educational Society and CHILD Society (Children Intestinal and Liver Disease Society) which provide free basic education to underprivileged children and health related activities respectively. Most importantly she’s the convenor from India for Aman Ki Asha (AKA), Health Initiative Project between India and Pakistan. She was the organising secretary of 1st AKA Health initiative project between India and Pakistan in 2011 and was the convenor of a group of 15 experts from India at the 2nd Indo-Pak Health forum.

Conferred with B C Roy Award, most prestigious award for best talents in encouraging the development of medical specialties, by Hon’ble President of India.
Honoured with ZEE Swastha Bharat Samman Award” 2012 by Hon’ble Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
“DMA Centenary Award- 2014 by the then Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Finance Minister Arun Jaitely for her contribution in the field of child health.
SGRH Alumni Award by chairman of her hospital for appreciation to her services to the medical profession and community- 2014.
“DMA – Vishisht Chikitsa Ratan Award” by Delhi Medical Association by Governor of Delhi -2012.
Distinguished Service Award -2007 by the Indian Medical Association (Academy of Medical Specialties) for her contribution and achievements in liver transplantation.
Dr. Sadhana International Empowerment of Women Award -2010.
Eminent Doctor of the Year -2009 by Delhi Medical Association
Doctor of the Year Award – 2010 by eMedinews.
“Most Popular Doctor” Award for 2011 by eMedinews
“Mahila Sree Award & Gold Medal” for the year 2011.

Message to Youngsters
Passion, dedication and personal attention is the key to success.

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