Hospitals across Mumbai,Pune and Nagpur,among others in the state,have declared 103 brain-dead patients and 35 families showed the way in boosting organ donation by giving 61 kidneys,23 livers and 27 eyes to waitlisted patients. After the state made it mandatory for hospitals to report brain-dead patients to boost organ donation,health officials said a total of 111 organs were transplanted from October 2012 till May this year.
On August 6,which is Organ Donation Day,a series of awareness programmes were organised across the city and state. In an exclusive interview to Newsline,Additional Chief Secretary (Health) T C Benjamin,who was in Pune,said there was an increase in awareness on the need for donating organs.
It was last September after Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh died before he could undergo a liver transplant that the state health department issued four notifications making it mandatory for hospitals to report brain-dead patients and starting non-transplant organ retrieval centres where hospitals with an intensive care unit and operation theatre can retrieve organs from brain-dead patients but not perform transplants.
There are four zonal transplant coordination committees in Mumbai,Pune,Aurangabad and Nagpur,which have to be notified about brain-dead patients. Benjamin admitted that major centres like Mumbai,Pune and Nagpur had started reporting such patients and so far 24 hospitals have been identified as non-transplant organ retrieval centres.
There are,however,many patients on waiting list and we are doubling our efforts to convince families of dead people for organ transplant, Benjamin said. Usually families do not agree to organ transplant of brain-dead patients in the hope that they will recover. After being declared brain-dead,organs such as heart,kidneys,liver,lungs,eyes and pancreas can be transplanted.
For instance,according to Dr Harshal Rajekar,chief liver transplant surgeon at Ruby Hall Clinic,in 2008 at least 2,300 people died due to liver-related ailments. Nearly 30 per cent could have been salvaged if we had a donor registry. India has the highest number of road accidents every year. Even if relatives consented to donating organs from at least 10 per cent patients,there would not be such a long waiting list, he said.
Both Ruby Hal Clinic and H V Desai Eye Hospital held awareness programmes on Organ Donation Day. According to Dr Pranav More,eye bank director at H V Desai Eye Hospital,they collect nearly 1,000-1,200 corneas every year but there is still shortage.