The writings of Birju Patel

Friday, February 23, 2007

My Stem cell Treatment Trip

My Stem cell Treatment: Nectar of life 23rd Feb 2007

I went through this procedure because it seemed like a great hope at the time. I didn't receive any major results, but it was worth trying. I will still look into other institutions and even other types of stem cell that are out there.

Stem cell can be the next nectar of life; it has the potential to heal many ailments that are considered as non curable. My first duty will be to educate you about stem cells, Stem cells can be derived from a lot of different places, and they can be collected from embryo, fetus, umbilical cord blood, bone marrow and a few other things. I went for the bone marrow stem cell procedure which is also known as Autologus stem cell. Other kind of stem cells might not be accepted by our body and there is a great chance of rejection of foreign cells. So even if my stem cells don’t work I will be assured that I don’t get into problems of rejections or tumors. I will not bore you much with all the medical stuff, but there are many articles on stem cell and its types. There is no major surgery involved in this procedure; everything is done with help of needles.


On the 19th of Feb I flew from Baroda at 11.45, and I had to change planes in Bombay. I finally reached the Lifeline hospital at 5.45 pm. This hospital is in Chennai (Madras), so I would suggest you to plan your trip properly if you or a loved one is planning to go there. I had asked for an ambulance, and that was big enough for me and my family to reach the hospital. They just charge 1000 rupees for one way, but it is worth the comfort because that is a 45 min trip.

I was not made to wait in the hospital; as soon as we got in I was taken in my room. The room was so nice; it was like a nice hotel room. The room was spacious and clean; one attendant is allowed to stay with the patient. My dad and uncle were given a deluxe room right next to us; yes the hospital is amazing they provided so much help. Mr. Vivek and Mr. Suresh are the hospital administrators; they will make you feel at home upon arrival.

19th February 2007

As soon as I was in my bed the hospital started its amazing work, you don’t even have to tell them anything.

  1. Two nurses came to check my blood pressure and pulses

  1. Dr Ravikumar (Stem cell coordinator) and Dr Kapadia came to visit me, and had a long chat.

  1. Two nurses came and did my ECG to ensure that my heart was doing fine.

  1. Dr Daniel Neuro surgeon visited me after that, and had a talk.

  1. Dr Hemant, the anesthetic doctor talked to me, and had some FAQs to ensure everything was fine with me.

  1. A barber came and shaved my upper body, they will shave everything between the neck and knees to avoid septic to happen.

  1. An intra venous needle was inserted, then a shot of tetanus was given and a sample dose of the anesthesia was given to check how I would react to it.

  1. An X-ray of my chest was taken, that is done in the room.

20th February 2007

This is how my day one went; I got free at 12.30 am, so I would suggest people to reach there in the afternoon if possible. So my next day started at 6 am, and I was taken to the operation theater by 6.30 am.

  1. I was given general anesthesia for the bone marrow extraction, it was just a nice feeling being so high, and I was having funny feelings. Last thing I remember was they asked me to turn sideways. Then I literally went into dream land, and I just remember that I was in Japan.

  1. I was woken up by the doctors after they had aspired 130 ml of bone marrow from my left hip bone (110 ml for bone marrow & 20ml of anti coagulant) . There is a needle that punctures the skin and bone, and then the bone marrow is sucked. I was taken to the ICU after that procedure.

  1. The bone marrow was taken to the NCRM Japanese lab for stem cell isolation (

  1. It took me like an hour to settle down and get in my real senses.

  1. I was visited by many doctors in the ICU, including the doctors that met me on the 19th.

  1. Dr Ravikumar was accompanied by DR. Samuel Abraham (

  1. I got some minor physical therapy during the time spent in the ICU, the entire time spent in the ICU I was attended by a nurse. I had I. V. on for rest of the day.

  1. Dr Nayarana, the Chief Neuro surgeon came and spoke to me for 20 minutes, he did some minor sensory and strength tests.

  1. I was visited by the CEO of hospital, and then did a small interview for “Jaya TV”.

There were more things happening, I met more people, but I don’t remember all now. I was going to be injected with stem cell at 2.30 pm at the same day. I was just waiting for the thing to begin soon. So the team came to the ICU just before 2.30 pm. I was made to sleep side ways, in such a way that my spine was arched in the proper position. 25- 30 minutes procedure

Stem cell Injection

  1. I was given local anesthesia by Dr Hemant in the lumber area, this is supposed to be painless, but I did feel some pain.

  1. Needles were poked in to my spine that went straight into the Spinal cord liquid.

  1. My injury is on the T3 level( chest level) but the injections were inserted in the Lumber area ( lower back)

  1. Dr Ravikumar injected 18 ml of stem cell in the spine; the approx count of stem cell was 360 million.

  1. The stem cell looked like a white liquid with some red spots in it.

  1. Once the 18 ml was injected, I was made to lie on my back and the legs were raised up so that the stem cell can travel to the injury area.

  1. I was given a sample shot of anti biotic on my hand before being injected intra venous

  1. I was taken back to my room at 7 pm and was asked to lie on my back for 12 hours. Ideally it is better to lie in that position for the 24 hours.

  1. The entire procedure was recorded on a camera

21st February 2007

The 21 February was a rest day; I rested the entire day, in the morning my I.V. was removed. It was a relief to be free of everything. I was visited by Dr Ravikumar and the other doctors. A patient is very well cared in that hospital. The nurses don’t like to be tipped, so it’s not a good idea to offer them money.

I met a patient Ali Akbar; he is 24 year old man who was injured 4 months back. He was paralyzed waist below; He couldn’t walk and didn’t have any bowel or bladder control. After 2 months of his injury he was injected with stem cells, and now he is walking. So this therapy did work for him. This therapy reacts in a different fashion with everyone, it might work for me, it might not work, but I am assured that it will have no adverse effect on me. The therapy might take 3 months to show any progress, regeneration process is a slow one.

This is like using grade “A” fertilizer for a seed; we just have to wait for the plant to grow. This is a wait and watch procedure, honestly I am not able to tell any difference at this time, but maybe in 3 months from now I would have something to say.






Important points

  1. This therapy might not work in the same way for everyone.

  1. The quality and quantity of stem cell derived would be different for everyone.

  1. Age of the person is an important factor, younger the better chances of recovery

  1. Number of years of injury is an important factor, recent injuries have superior chances of progress

  1. Please be patient, this is not a one day wonder therapy. It would take months to show any changes. So please tell this to all your friends and family before you go.

  1. Most important thing is that this therapy might not help you, but it’s worth taking a chance because of no side effects or rejections.

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