Mumbai: Cadaver donation by the family of a braindead patient can save eight lives. However, statistics for Maharashtra are grim and 6,100 people are waiting for kidney transplant alone. Another 1,602 need a liver transplant but the process has been impeded by lack of awareness and stigma associated with organ donations. Officials said there was a monetary surge in organ donations after the Cover pandemic but the gap between demand and supply is still humongous.
A senior official said that more and more people understand the importance of organ donation but we need to accept brain death just like cardiac death. He said, “Government hospitals could significantly improve this state of affairs by streamlining the complex process of getting permission for and carrying out transplants from deceased donors. However, public hospitals across the country have shown poor participation in organ transplant programmes.”
115 people are in line waiting for organ transplant
Meanwhile, in Maharashtra, 115 people are waiting for a heart, 46 for lungs, 21 for small intestine and two for large intestine transplant. At least 20 people in the country die everyday waiting for organ transplants and one person is added to the wait list every 10 minutes.
A senior official from the Director of Health Services said that it’s easy to identify a brain dead patient but quite challenging to convince families to donate. There is a need to spread awareness through short films, media and other creative methods.
Kidneys are the most sough-after organs for donation
“Kidneys are the most sought-after human organs for transplantation. Although any person can donate, if a minor wishes to do so, she/he will have to follow the necessary legal procedure,” the official said. A representative of the Zonal Transplant Coordination Centre said that people are coming forward for organ donation but six out of 10 refuse to give consent citing religious reasons.
Meanwhile organ donation pledges in India need to translate into actual donations; for that, medical staff needs to be educated. They must be able to recognise, identify, inform and counsel families about brain death and the importance of organ donation. “The gap between demand and supply continues to be tremendous and the faster we equip our ICU staff with knowledge and awareness, the sooner the gap will close,” a doctor said.