Shahid Akhter, editor, ETHealthworld spoke to Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman & Managing Director, Medanta, to know about Medanta’s initiative and interest in furthering the cause of organ donation in the country.
Organ donation, need and impact
Organ donation is essential to save millions of lives around the world. When we know that the patient who is alive has a certain organ in their body whether it is kidney, liver, heart or lungs, and if they are failing, the patient’s life is in jeopardy because of the failure of those organs. That is one side of the problem. The other side is that there are unfortunately situations, such as road traffic accidents, where the victims are very severely injured in their brain but the rest of the body is really functioning well. But if the brain has suffered irreversible damage then the body cannot survive and that being the case, we can encourage people that one person who has suffered irreversible brain damage can save 6-7 lives by donating their organs. That is a big opportunity from my point of view.
One point of view is that the family and the person when they are healthy and alive are sensitized to the fact that these organs are not going to mutilate your body, there only going to save people, and in one person’s tragedy you can save six tragedies. So, I think people should understand this whether it is social responsibility, whether it is religious responsibility, or it is a human responsibility. What could be better for the family of the departed soul to live with the feeling that you did something good for another human being. I think there would be very little resistance, once a person understands what we are talking about on organ donation.
Organ donation at Medanta
The main thing is to make people understand the concept of organ donation, about brain death, so that they are not victimized. For this, we are holding the organ donation exhibition in the lobby for general awareness.
Over the past 10-15 years, with the aid of stringent rules and regulations on brain death, there has not been a single accusation on somebody being declared dead by mistake or knowingly. Therefore, people should be aware of these rules, regulations and methodologies so that they know if their known-one’s have suffered an irreversible damage then they will not recover further.
It is also a good feeling that with the donation of the organs of the victim of a tragedy of irreversible brain death, can save 6-7 lives. I think it will immensely increase people’s ability to agree to organ donation. It’s important that efforts taken to spread awareness on organ donation should be done daily in every hospital, every social place so that people can understand what it is. It’s not that they have fears, or they are opposed to saving other people’s lives, but is just apprehensions or fears about what they are doing to the body. They are worried if it’s against their religion, will God permit this doing, or if there can be abuse. Once you take care of all these three things, I think we would be in a position in India to lead the organ donation campaign around the world. We are the second largest populous country, so we can numerically save many lives through organ donation.
I appreciate the effort that ETHealthworld is doing in this direction, so its best that you continue and we shall co-operate and spread the message as far as we can so that people feel the comfort of what it is. So, along the lines at Medanta, we have sensitized all our physicians and health workers, and we do have counsellors. In case of a situation where a person is found to be brain dead and the family needs to be counselled and needs to be given the right information of what could be the possibilities, the counsellors can help them. It used to be very difficult few years ago but now with the awareness spreading and many agencies doing this, like Mohan Foundation’s collaboration with Medanta, the receptiveness of families has gone up and we are hoping that in times to come it will lead to many lives that we can save. At Medanta, we have kidney transplant, liver transplant, heart transplant, intestinal transplants, bone marrow transplant and lung transplant, so all these things are possible if public co-operates or understand us and we can do human services to save many hundreds and thousands of people who are Indian citizens.