The long waiting list for a liver donation – a life-saving transplant – has prompted several recipients of donated livers to spread awareness about cadaver transplants. Cadaver transplant is an organ transplant from a brain-dead person. While liver transplant is more accessible from from a brain-dead person, it is a difficult organ to retrieve from a live donor.
Sexagenarian Sudarshan Chokhani, who underwent cadaver liver transplant on January 5 after waiting for a span of 10 months, said, “I will aim to get 500 donors registered within six months for organ donation by creating awareness. The liver I got saved my life. It is necessary to propagate cadaver transplant and organ donation in our society.”
Dr Sujata Ashtekar from Zonal Transplant Co-ordination Centre said, “There are 219 patients on waiting list for liver transplant and as per January data, there are 2,965 patients waiting for kidney transplant in the city.”
In 2013, the donation rate in Mumbai — 1.5 per million people – was significantly less than Chennai (15 per million people) which was the highest organ donation rate in the country. “Patients have to wait f or a period of 12 months or more to get a donor. One out of five suffers from liver ailments in our country. These people face high chances of liver cancer or liver failure. Unfortunately, cadaver transplants are still not popular in the city and around 2,000 die here annually due to liver failure or liver cancer,” said Dr A S Soin, chief surgeon of Jupiter-Medanta Liver Transplant program.
This year, the city has so far witnessed a total of six cadaver transplants as opposed to 12 in Chennai and eight in Kochi. A single liver transplant costs nearly Rs 25 lakh which has been a major discouraging factor for economically backward classes. Dr Gautama Ramakanthan, transplant director at Jupiter hospital, said, “Liver-related ailments are caused due to alcohol, Hepatits B, Hepatitis C and non-alcoholic fatty related issues.”
Rajkumar Aswani, a Pune-based businessman who underwent cadaver liver transplant in 2012, said, “I had to wait for one and a half years for a liver donor. I felt suicidal twice in that period. Now with a functional liver, my health has improved. I have decided to register all my family members for organ donation.”
According to Sion authorities, only a ten-fold increase in the donation rate can help bridge the long waiting period.