In what can give cadaver organ donation a major boost, the state health ministry is mulling over introducing several standardised protocols to smoothen the life-saving transplantation process. This includes fixed air-ambulance rates, GPS for road ambulances and traffic police coordination, a different siren colour and sound for ambulances, and appointment of nodal officers in each division in the police force to clear the way for documental proceedings.
With a slew of bureaucratic clearances, the process of inter-city and inter-state cadaver organ transplant, which is currently riddled with time-consuming formalities, is set to get faster and simpler.
According to Zonal Transplant Coordination Centre which facilitates the process of cadaver organ transplant, talks are underway to formulate the guidelines. “A committee will be formed to look into it. This is to essentially save time in transporting organs,” said doctor Gustad Daver who heads ZTCC.
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In a high-level meeting with health minister Deepak Sawant on Wednesday, issues like delays from the police end were raised. “For cadaver transplant, a no-objection certificate is required from the local police. Every time, we have to explain to them what a cadaver donation is and make several phone calls to get the clearance,” said doctor Gauri Rathod who heads the state organ donation at Directorate of Health Services. The procedure is more cumbersome for inter-city transplants.
Now, a nodal police officer assigned for each division will be trained on what cadaver donation is and what documents are required for the procedure. “The nodal officer will be contacted to facilitate every transplant,” Rathod added.
The need for speed in organ transplant is essential. A heart can be preserved for maximum four hours in a solvent after it is extracted from a deceased donor’s body.
Similarly, a liver can be preserved for eight hours and a kidney for 12 hours. “But the quicker the organ is retrieved and transplanted, the better the success rate,” Daver pointed out.
With a thrust in inter-state organ transplant, the health ministry is also deciding on how an ideal green corridor can be created by finalising air-ambulance fares and fixed road transport protocol. Before extracting an organ, the traffic police will be informed an hour in advance. A GPS in the ambulance will help in navigation and a sticker will be put up on the ambulance to show it is carrying an organ. The health ministry is also considering changing the sound of siren in the ambulance to show urgency in getting a road cleared.
Milind Bharambe, joint commissioner of police (traffic), said that that the traffic department “is ready to provide a safe passage” to such vehicles. “There are already green corridors in place, but to further institutionalise these movements, certain ideas have been proposed,” he said.
In order to create awareness among the public about these movements, the traffic police will be using the variable message signs (VMS) signboards and also public announcement systems to divert or alert motorists to keep paths clear. An alert to FM radio channels will also be given for notifying those driving on similar routes.
“GPS units in ambulances can be linked to our control room. Hence, we can facilitate the ambulance more effectively,” he said.
A team of experts will also visit Tamil Nadu to understand the methodology for transporting an organ.
According to ZTCC, Mumbai has this year conducted 17 kidney, 11 liver, and six heart transplants, a record high for the city in such a short span.