Noble gesture:Sheela Ramachandran (left), Vice-Chancellor of Avinashilingam University for Women, presenting an award to R.Uma Maheswari , who gave consent for transplanting the organs of her brain-dead husband, at the ‘Organ Donation Awareness Programme’ held at the University in Coimbatore on Tuesday.— Photo: K. Ananthan
It took two kidneys of seven-year-old brain dead Rajeswari to bring 46-year-old S. Parameswaran out of everyday dialysis. Seven persons received the harvested organs of 29-year-old bus conductor S. Karthikeyan, who died of head injury. Though Rajeswari and Karthikeyan had not pledged their organs, their relatives ensured that they didn’t go waste.
The message sent out on World Organ Donation Day on Tuesday was that the most important card one has to carry should be the Organ Donor Card, which gave the licence to the dead to live on in other people.
The focus of the day was on creating awareness on the rationale behind burying a person’s organs when they can give renewed life to a maximum of seven people.
Doctors lament that though there are 1.5 lakh brain deaths due to road accidents in India, the requirement of organs to save people is on a rise on the other side. This is because the organs of the dead go waste due to lack of awareness or lack of inclination to donate thereof.
M.N. Sivakumar, Head, Department of Critical Care, Kovai Medical Center and Hospital, said that though the awareness about organ donations was on the rise, there was a need to promote cadaveric organ donation and transplantation rather than live donations. “When there is a need for a transplant, a family member or relative volunteers to donate an organ. This will become unnecessary if cadaveric organ donations are widely promoted by the Government. In most Western countries, especially Spain and the U.K., live donations are not at all required because almost all cadavers are used for organ harvesting. This should also be the case here,” he said.
Referring to the Tamil Nadu Network for Organ Sharing of the State Government (www.tnos.org), Dr. Sivakumar said there was a waitlist for 2,927 kidneys as on August 6. But with 2,001 cadaver donations between October 2008 and June 30, 2013, Tamil Nadu has beaten Maharashtra in statistics. However, the Department of Public Health and Family Welfare has taken up the task of actively promoting cadaver organ donation and transplantation.
At an organ donation awareness programme conducted by KG Hospital at Avinashilingam University for Women, G. Bakthavathsalam, Chairman of KG Hospital, said the public should volunteer to pledge their organs without any apprehension. The hospital gave away certificates of appreciation to more than 20 living and posthumous donors.
Programmes conducted by the Indian Medical Association in association with MOHAN Foundation at some institutions called for sensitising and enrolling willing donors.