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Panel to frame guidelines on post-mortem cases involving organ transplants

The committee will comprise forensic experts, transplant surgeons and government officials.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
September 23, 2014 12:54:23 am

A day after a medical officer from Thane Civil hospital took over four hours to conduct and write a post-mortem report of a 44-year-old Mulund resident whose organs had already been donated for cadaver transplant, the state Directorate of Health Services (DHS) decided to constitute a committee to lay down proper guidelines to deal with post-mortem cases involving organ transplants to avoid such incidents in future.

The incident came to light after the deceased Vijay Savla’s body was stuck at the Thane Civil Hospital from 12.30 pm till 5 pm in the evening because the doctor-on-duty did not know how to write the post-mortem report of brain-dead patients enlisted for organ donation.

Dr Archana Patil, assistant director, DHS, said, “There will be no inquiry ordered into this incident as the doctor was not quite at fault. The body that came for post-mortem had already undergone a retrieval process and kidney, liver, and other organs had been taken out. She did not know how to handle such a case.”

The committee will comprise forensic experts, transplant surgeons and government officials. A meeting was convened at the DHS on Monday to discuss the matter.

Dr Kempi Patil, who heads organ transplant in the state, said the medical doctor started the autopsy at 2.40 pm and completed the entire procedure by 3.40 pm on Sunday. “As there was a pulse polio programme on Sunday, several senior doctors were busy. She required help with report formation and therefore it stretched till 5 pm,” Patil said.

A senior official from Zonal Transplant Coordination Committee (ZTCC), however, said that all medical officers in the state have been sensitised regarding post-mortem procedures.  The medical officer has reportedly been recently transferred to the civil hospital from a public health center. Patil admitted that more training in rural areas is needed in organ transplants. “In Mumbai, the awareness is sufficient, but other areas in the state have just started the organ transplant program and will need some time to get acquainted with all procedures,” he said.

Savla was first admitted in a private facility on Tuesday and then shifted to Jupiter hospital, Thane, on Friday for treatment of brain haemorrhage. He was declared brain-dead at the hospital on Saturday night at 9.30 pm. While his family gave its consent to donate his liver, both kidneys, eyes and skin for transplant at the hospital, they later faced difficulty in getting his post-mortem report.

While guidelines on post-mortem procedures have already been written, the committee’s norms will help doctors to deal with  specific cases where organs have already been retrieved and then the body is sent for post-mortem.

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