State Public Health Services plan innovative incentives for cadaver donor's kin

Swapnil Raut claimed five patients would have benefitted from the organs of the brain dead patient. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

The State Public Health Services is in the process of formulating guidelines in connection with cadaver donation. It is also contemplating various schemes, and officials are brain-storming on various pros and cons of recognising and rewarding organ donor's families.

Dr Pravin Shingare, Director Medical Education and Research said, "Our internal committee is in the process of coming up with some schemes which will ensure that more and more people come forward to register and donate organs of deceased kin. The few suggestions that we are working on are: railway/ state transport tickets at half the rate for family members, public felicitation of the family on Independence or Republic Day, concessions in school/college fees, free medical treatment for the family in government/civic hospitals etc for the children etc of the cadaver donor."

Dr Shingare said the scheme should be ready within the next 15 to 20 days. He clarified that it is applicable only in case of cadaver donors." Interestingly, this proactive measure was because of a Bombay High Court division bench of Justices Shantanu Kemkar and Prabhudesai, which is presently hearing a writ petition filed by a kidney failure patient awaiting transplant. The petition alleged that a brain dead patient's organs were wasted due to the rigid attitude of the State Public Health Department, which refused to permit the retrieval of organs. The petition claimed five patients would have benefitted from the organs.

The petition
Swapnil Raut, 44, the kidney patient, had moved the writ petition in the Bombay High Court on the subject. In the petition (a copy is with this paper) it is stated that Mahesh Mehta was admitted at L H Hiranandani hospital, Powai and declared brain dead during the course of treatment. On August 8, the CEO of Hiranandani hospital wrote to the Director of Health Services seeking permission to retrieve organs from the cadaver donor (Mehta) for the benefit of patients suffering from organ failure, and assured that their team will not be involved in organ harvesting.

However, the Director of Health Services did not permit retrieval of organs from the cadaver donor on the ground that the transplant centre's (Hiranandani hospital – post the kidney transplant racket expose) licence was suspended.
Raut, said, "Mehta's kidney was not to be donated to me, but they could have saved the lives of at least two kidney patients on the Zonal Transplant Co-ordination Centre (ZTCC) wait list. Similarly his other organs would have given a new lease on life to other patients."

Raut was donated a kidney by a relative after both his kidneys failed. However, in 2015, after seven years, a stomach infection damaged that kidney and he needs another transplant. Advocate Ashish Mehta, appearing for Raut said, "There should be a single window system with a national help-line number, which can stream line the process."

Experts say
Senior nephrologist Dr Bharat Shah of Global hospital, Parel said, "The need of the hour is to encourage a temporary licensing system which covers major BMC/Government-run hospitals like Cooper, St George, JJ, Rajawadi where the number of brain dead cases will be comparatively higher than in a private hospital." Dr Ram Narain, Executive Director at Kokilaben Hospital said, "It is a known fact that Spain has the highest organ donation rate from brain dead patients in the world at 33 per one million population. We have to work towards making people aware about the need for cadaver donations."

Mumbai wait list number
According to ZTCC's recent data (2017), in Mumbai, up to 3,200 patients are on the waiting list for kidneys, while around 250 people are waiting for liver donations. Around 40 patients are waiting for heart transplants and 10 are seeking lung transplants.

Patients saved in India due to cadaver donations in 2016

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