Since 2017, only six deceased organ donations carried out at city’s public hospitals
Deceased organ donations are carried out after family members of brain-dead patients give their consent to retrieve the organs
Mumbai: Since 2017, public hospitals in the city have carried out only six deceased organ donations, reveals data from the Zonal Transplant Coordination Centre (ZTCC). A negligible contribution, despite the heavy patient footfall in these facilities. In all, the organs of 260 people were donated in the city during this period, of which, the majority of 254 donations were carried out in private hospitals.
Deceased organ donations are carried out after family members of brain-dead patients give their consent to retrieve the organs. Hospitals need active intensive care teams and transplant coordinators to initiate the first steps such as identifying brain deaths and counselling the families. Public hospitals have been lagging on this front resulting in few donations.
“Mumbai’s public hospitals have tremendous potential for organ donations,” said Dr Bharat Shah, general secretary, Zonal Transplant Coordination Centre (ZTCC). “Public hospitals see many cases of road traffic accidents, trauma and other ailments wherein the patients suffer from brain stem injuries. However, they lag in identifying the brain deaths and initiating the conversations for the donations,” he said, adding that hospitals with active intensive care teams and dedicated, well-trained transplant coordinators have better performing organ donation programmes.
According to Shah, the city has around 40 registered organ transplant centres, including four public hospitals. “If we just take the private centres into consideration, only about five to six are most active in donations, while the rest are lagging behind,” he said. “Most centres are not identifying brain deaths and not reporting them either,” he added.
The Maharashtra government has formed a state-level organ donation task force to pull up the programme from the jolt of the pandemic when the donations and transplants came to a complete halt. In addition, the task force will also focus on getting hospitals to identify brain deaths and training the staff in initiating conversations with relatives.
“We have started engaging with the deans and intensive care teams of public hospitals and sensitising them,” shared Dr Rahul Pandit, a critical care specialist at Fortis Hospital and a member of the organ donation task force. “Last week, we conducted a webinar for public hospitals about signs of brain death, brain death identification and ways in which it should be declared to the relatives. Over 100 doctors attended the event,” he said, adding that the task force aims to uplift the overall deceased organ donation programme and not just focus on public hospitals, but private hospitals in the city too.
ZTCC’s president Dr SK Mathur said that government hospitals should not just have kidney transplant centres but also create facilities for heart, lungs, and liver transplantation. “Having transplantation facilities will automatically improve organ donations too,” he said.