PANJIM: While a 25-year-old brain dead youth at the Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Bambolim provided a new lease of life to four individuals after his family decided to donate his organs recently, there are as many as 46 patients waiting to receive organs in the State.
Speaking to O Heraldo, Dr Preeti Varghese, Joint Director, State Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (SOTTO), so far four brain dead persons have given new lease of life to persons in the last four years and second in the current year.
One kidney was allocated to a 31-year-old patient at the Goa Medical College and Hospital while the other was donated to a 45-year-old patient at the Healthway Hospital.
The National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) allocated the heart to a 30-year-old patient at MGM Chennai and liver to the Army Hospital R&R, Delhi.
In Goa, apart from GMCH, Manipal Hospital and Healthway Hospital also perform organ transplant surgeries.
Dr Varghese said after setting up SOTTO in Goa, first organ transplant was conducted at GMC in 2020 and second in 2021, she said.
Before SOTTO was set up in the State, one organ transplant had happened in Manipal Hospital, she said.
Out of the four donors, one was from Goa while others belonged to neighbouring States, she added.
Dr Varghese said if the donation happens in government hospitals as per the waiting list first preference is to be patients at government hospitals and if there is nobody in the waiting list then the organs are offered to the private hospitals.
“Rule is that after retrieval, the organs need to be transplanted as soon as possible. However, the heart and lungs can be transplanted within four to six hours and kidney within 24 hours which can go upto 48 hours. However, nobody waits for 47th hour because as much as the organs remain outside the body, much of blood supply and cell function is compromised. Liver, pancreas and small intestines should be transplanted within 12 hours,” said Dr Varghese.
She said 950 people from across the country have pledged as the organ donors with SOTTO Goa.
Dr Varghese said without the consent of family members of brain dead patients, organs cannot be retrieved.
“No person can be operated on and surgery done, if the relatives of brain dead patients don't give permission to do so, even after the patients have pledged to donate their organs earlier. Everything depends on the consent of the families of the patients,” she said.
Stressing on creating awareness, she said “it is not that just 46 people are in the waiting list of recipients of organs but there are so many patients who are on dialysis and require organs,” she said.
“Everybody belongs to someone. Therefore, people need to set forward. You have a waiting list because very few people come forward to donate organs. Very few family members step forward while as per the law donor has to be a near relative,” she stated further.
The SOTTO Goa joint director said kidney transplant in Goa Medical College is absolutely free.
“People need to understand that kidney transplant is free at GMC. Even DDSSY covers some portion of the expenditure incurred on the transplant,” she said.
On efforts of the GMC to create awareness on the issue, she said, “We address medical fraternity, colleges, higher secondary schools, teachers, conduct online sessions, offline sessions, government offices, we also associate with sports events. We organise different sorts of events on organ donation days. IMA too has forum for organising events.”
ALL PATIENTS WHO RECEIVED ORGANS DOING WELL: DEAN
PANJIM: Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) Dean Dr Shivanand Bandekar on Monday said that all patients who received the organs were doing well.
“All recipients are doing well. We have videos. We transplanted kidneys but wherever we have given heart, liver and lungs. Those hospitals have sent us videos showing that the patients have recovered fully,” he said.
Dr Bandekar said in earlier cases, twice the heart had gone to a hospital in Mumbai, lungs to a hospital in Ahmedabad and liver to a hospital in Bengaluru.
He said while the September 15 donor was from Karnataka, May 28 donor hailed from Varanasi (UP). Earlier two donors were from Jharkhand and Goa.
“Everyday we are creating awareness. Problem is that when people see a heart beating and we tell them that the patient is brain dead, they do not believe it. People get confused between brain-dead and cardiac death. We explain to everybody. The period is of sadness and grief which need to be understood in a better way,” he said.
Dr Bandekar said the brain dead patient from Varanasi had saved five lives.
“Now we have decided to felicitate the father of the patient at the hands of the Health Minister. Slowly people started understanding the importance of organ donations,” he said.
Dr Bandekar said in the State, South Goa District Hospital and the North Goa District Hospital are the retrieval hospitals identified by the National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO).
“They can declare patients brain dead. They have teams to do so,” he said.