The JJ Hospital in Byculla witnessed its first ever case of cadaver organ donation when the donor’s liver and eyes were transplanted in three patients on Sunday. While the liver was transplanted in a 56-year-old man who was suffering from liver disease and had been admitted at Jupiter Hospital in Thane, the eyes went to two separate patients admitted at JJ Hospital.
The donor, 38-year-old Sangita Rajesh Mahajan, was a resident of Jalgaon and had sustained severe head injuries in a road accident over a week ago. She was brought to JJ hospital on July 20 and the doctors realised that there was no progress in her condition. “She was not responding to any treatment and after a couple of days, we declared her to be brain-dead on July 22 at 9 pm. We counselled her family and tried to encourage them to donate her organs. Her husband, two children and sister eventually agreed to donate all her organs,” said one of the doctors from JJ Hospital.
After the family gave their consent, the doctors conducted a series of investigations on the functioning of various organs and submitted the reports to the Zonal Transplant Coordination Committee. On Sunday morning, a team of doctors started the organ retrieval surgery at around 4.30 am and after a three-hour-long surgery, the liver was sent to Jupiter Hospital to be transplanted into the 56-year-old man who had been suffering from liver disease for a year and-a-half.
The doctors said that the emotional nature of the decision makes it a difficult one as family members often don’t agree to part with the organ of a loved one. Even though JJ Hospital has tried with 3-4 cases in the past one year, they haven’t had success until now. “It is a difficult decision to make and we have tried to convince family members in many other cases in the past but the relatives were unwilling to donate organs. But this is the first time the family has agreed and we have been able to help three people. The eyes were donated to a 60-year-old man and a 48-year-old woman,” said T P Lahane, dean of JJ Hospital.
Mahajan’s family members were counselled by doctors, social workers and the dean, among others, before they decided to donate the organs. Anirudha Kulkarni, the transplant coordinator with Jupiter Hospital, said that while they had consented to donate all the organs, the kidneys and the heart were damaged and could not be used.
“The kidneys were weak and were damaged because of the medication, while the heart was offered to Fortis but it didn’t meet the medical parameters. Her liver, however, saved the life of a man who is a resident of Barshi in Solapur and a government official. He was a non-alcoholic patient and even though he had been offered a liver a couple of times before, he couldn’t get the surgery due to family commitments,” he said. He added that good coordination within the team of 35-40 doctors from various departments of JJ Hospital made the whole process a success.