Life After Life

A seasoned and a matured health care professional with 28 years of experience in the industry with a thorough understanding of the dynamics of hospitals and the day to-day operational, financial and liquidity challenges faced by hospitals

The advancements in science, medicine and technology are amazing and impressive in the last decades. Terminal and irreversible failures of organs were replaced with organs from donors to save lives of many. The worldwide numbers shows that there were 1,46,600 transplants happened last year. Out of which 95,479 are Kidney transplants, 34,074 are Liver, 8,311 are Heart, 6,475 are Lung and 2,338 are pancreas transplants. Unfortunately, there is a mismatch between demand and supply not only in India but all over the world. While India’s rate is 0.6 persons per million population as organ donors, the rate of country like Spain is 50 per million population and US is 36 per million population. Statistics reveals that every minute someone is added to the waiting list for transplant somewhere in the world. An estimate shows that around 5 lack Indians are encountering organ failures in a year but only 2-3 percent of them are lucky enough to get an organ transplant.

"It is the process of giving a healthy organ or tissue to a person who has a damaged organ through a surgical procedure"

About Organ Donation:
It is the process of giving a healthy organ or tissue to a person who has a damaged organ through a surgical procedure. Donors can be both living person or a deceased person. A living person can donate one of the kidneys, part of liver and part of pancreas. On the other side, a deceased person can donate both the eyes, heart, heart values, both lungs, liver, intestine, pancreas, both kidneys, skin and more. Through this donation up to 8 lives could be saved. All the procedures are monitored by Government of India’s Transplantation of Human Organ Act of (THOA) 1994. In Tamil Nādu it is monitored by Transplant Authority Government of Tamil Nadu (TRANSTAN) very strictly and efficiently.

This program is very successful in this state. The State government has won the national award for organ donation for six consecutive years. Selling and buying of organs are not permitted and treated as illegal. Tissues like cornea, heart valves could be donated after natural death but organs like heart, liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs could be donated only after the declaration of expert team as 'Brain Dead'. Brain dead means all functions governed by the brain are lost including respiration but other organs are functioning. Under few medical conditions one cannot donate their organs like person affected with HIV, cancer, heart diseases and many.

Statistics reveals that India needs 1,85,000 kidneys, 33,000 livers and 50,000 hearts in a year. But as per National Organ Transplant Program, only 60,000 kidneys, 1200 livers and 15 hearts are getting transplanted in a year. There are few challenges faced in matching the supply and demand. The organ donation program is consisting of medical, psychological, ethical and social aspect. Stability and sustainability of this program depends on the public opinion and social maturity of this program, which is an essential aspect. Availability of organs from deceased donors could be increased by educating the public and social system. The religious leaders also have a role to educate and promote organ donation. Apart from this, capacity building of well-trained transplant experts, especially in smaller cities will make this program aggressive.

Availability of organs from deceased donors could be increased by educating the public and social system

In the event of brain stem death of an individual, the organ donation decision rests with the family. Barrier could be the refusal from family members. When the family is shocked and emotionally disturbed, suggesting organ donation is difficult to accept and they are unable to make decision in the complex environment. Despite initiatives taken by the counselling team; nearly half of the families refuse to donate. The transplant team has an important assignment of finding a recipient from the waiting list, most suitable for the harvesting organs. Several clinical matching’s need to be done. Not all the organs are transplanted at one centre. Depending upon the waiting list and priority, different centres will transplant different organs for different recipients simultaneously. Unless there is expert team separately for harvesting and transplanting, the transplant program may not be successful. The post operative expert care is also very essential to boost the success rate. For the live donors, after donation, their life will be normal and routine and there will be no barriers due to donation.

Myth 1:My religion is against organ donation
Fact 1: Almost all religions support the concept. Religious leaders play a very vital role in bringing awareness among their devotees.
Myth 2: I am too young or too old to donate
Fact 2: Organ donation can be given at any age. Every age is the right age to donate. There is no bar on caste, gender, religion, race.
Myth 3: Am I healthy enough to donate an organ
Fact 3: This will be evaluated by the transplant team. Certain organs like cornea can be donated even in an unhealthy condition.
Myth4: My family members have to pay for organ donation
Fact 4: No need to pay any money. As per our act, organs are neither sold nor bought.
Myth 5: Once I enrolled as donor, I cannot change my mind.
Fact 5: You may opt-out, in case you change your mind later.
Myth 6:If I donate organ partially, my health will get affected.

Fact 6: In case of live donors, even after donation, they will lead a normal life and there will be no hurdles in their routines. As the liver regrows, an individual can be healthy even after donating the organ. In India, this program is growing every year, though there was a dip in Covid 19 period. The transplant program can be made more successful and make available to all by bringing more and more awareness among the public, religious leaders, society and all other stake holders. Come together and make this program successful.