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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Smart move to drive cadaver donations

Your Driving Licence Will Soon Double As Organ Donor Card; GR Likely In A Month

    In a ground-breaking move that hopes to lift the state's dismal cadaver donation count—which stands at less than 300 organs in the past 15 years—the state government will soon make it mandatory for a driving licence-holder to mention his or her consent to organ transplantation in the licence itself. 
    This is to ensure that in the event of a person's death in an accident, there is no delay in retrieving organs for transplant as well as to forestall opposition from relatives, if any. 
    This was one among several major decisions taken at an advisory committee meeting held on Wednesday on the Transplantation of Human Organs Act. Officials said the decisions are in consonance with the Central government 

Act. "All that the state government needs to do is issue a government resolution allowing it. The GR will be issued within a month,'' a senior Mantralaya official told TOI. 
    In a long to-do list to facilitate human organ transplantation in the state, particularly cadaver donations, the public 
health department will also discuss with the home department ways in which a postmortem and organ retrieval can be done at the same time, sources said. 
    "The government will designate a non-transplantation hospital with an intensive care unit and an operation theatre 
as an organ retrieval centre to increase the 
number of retrieval centres. The condition of a minimum of 25 beds applicable in Tamil Nadu will not be applied here." 
    In an effort to ensure better coordination and dissemination of information, a transplant hospital will have to inform all other registered transplant hospitals about a braindead person and provide organs on the basis of the waiting list. The government will not only revive the Zonal Transplant Coordination Centre at Pune, but also set up new ones at Amravati and Nashik. It will work on providing wide publicity to the issue and publicize the good results. 
    Besides additional chief secretary (public health) T C Benjamin, the committee comprises the director of Directorate Medical Education and Research, secretary of medical education, Hinduja Hospital medical director Gustad Daver, former medical education secretary Aziz Khan and former dean of Sion Hospital Dr Armita Fernandes, among others. 

Times View: Strike a balance 

    Organ transplants are a sticky domain, where the government and doctors have to deal with difficult ethical issues that have no black-and-white solutions or answers. The government is bound by law and ethics to prevent forced donations. But things could become a little simpler if every party in a transplant, including the government and potential donors and recipients, starts with a fundamental premise: No emergency patient should be denied a transplant for delay in paperwork. There needs to be a fine balance between the two necessities, preventing forced donations and saving lives by effecting speedy transplants. 
    Surat's Mohammed Arshad (32) was asked to go for a kidney transplant five months ago. His wife is ready to donate her kidney but Arshad first had to get a state NOC from Ahmedabad, a character certificate from the police and one more from the taluka and an NOC from Bihar where he lived earlier. He finally got the NOC, but not yet from the hospital committee. 

    Sabera Khokar (28), a Kenyan national, has been waiting since four months to donate her kidney to her husband (32). But unlike other women, she decided to swap her kidney with a Kenyan donorrecipient duo due to certain medical reasons. Though they have the required documents and even a consulate NOC, they are finding it difficult to get one from Rajasthan, from where they hail. "They called us three times for meetings but have not given an NOC yet." 
Kidney donations fall under three categories under the Transplantation of Human Organs Act: Cadaveric, live related and live unrelated donations 
Live include the closest family — a patient's mother, father, siblings and spouse 
Unrelated include the extended family, including uncles, aunts, grandparents and friends 
Cadaveric donations are coordinated in Mumbai by the Zonal Transplantation Coordination Centre 
that uses a computer-based points programme to decide who will get a kidney, liver, lung or heart 
Live-related donors are cleared at the hospital level, if from the state 
Unrelated donors from outside the state face problems with paperwork, which delays transplant 
Unrelated donors must have an interview with the authorization committee to establish that the donor isn't being coerced to donate

    This would ensure that in the event of a person's death in an accident, there is no delay in retrieving organs for transplantation as well as to forestall opposition from relatives


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