Organ donation is a big deal across the world especially in the United States of America. Organ donation is when a person allows an organ of theirs to be removed, legally, either by consent while the donor is alive or after death with the assent of the next of kin. Donation may be for research, or, more commonly healthy transplantable organs and tissues may be donated to be transplanted into another person. Common transplantations include kidneys, heart, liver, pancreas, intestines, lungs, bones, bone marrow, skin, and corneas. Some organs and tissues can be donated by living donors, such as a kidney or part of the liver, part of the pancreas, part of the lungs or part of the intestines, but most donations occur after the donor has died.
The organ donation lapse in Goa last week left the GMC doctors shocked
The first ever cadaveric organ retrieval procedure happened in Goa last week. The procedure took place in a Dona Paula based private hospital, close to Panjim. However, Goan patients awaiting receipt of these organs at the Goa Medical College, ended up victims of fraud when the same were flown to Mumbai instead.
According to the doctors involved, it was clear that the kidneys were to be transplanted in Goan patients and not in out of state patients. They say this is as per transplant rules.
The retrieval of the kidneys took place at a private hospital at approximately 9 am on Friday. On hearing about this, the dean, Dr. Pradip Naik to asked GMC consultants to prepare at least 10 patients waiting for cadaveric kidney transplant.
The consultants further said that Dr. Madhumohan Prabhudessai and Dr. J Tiwari of the nephrology department then wrote a joint letter to the dean informing him about their readiness to receive and transplant the kidneys. They also requested the dean to liaise with the other concerned departments to facilitate transplantation but failed to get any response from him.
The GMC consultants say that at least two patients could have benefitted from the kidneys of the donor and could have got a new lease on life.
“It is a shame that Goans have been cheated of their rights,” said a senior GMC official adding that it was time the government put the system in order to prevent more such occurrences in future.
Kidneys flown to Mumbai without anyone’s knowledge?
GMC does not have the means to do cross-matching of lymphocytes. However, patients’ relatives were prepared to fly to Mumbai with blood samples and get the same tested and come back with the results in hardly any time.
The consultants awaiting news from the dean regarding the availability of kidneys eventually came to know that the organs had been flown to Mumbai. They say that the letter sent by them to the dean was also marked to the transplant coordinator who failed to act.
Senior doctors at GMC overlooking the kidney transplant procedure, say that approximately a 100 people had been waiting to receive kidneys retrieved from cadavers. Besides these, another 500 odd are undergoing dialysis in the state.
Is management to blame?
There is no way to find out who exactly dropped the ball here. The National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation approved setting up of the State Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation in Goa but it seems like the GMC management has yet to set up a functional office, complete with staff.
“Had the GMC top management set up the SOTTO, it would have helped in acquiring the kidneys of the donor for transplantation,” the GMC consultants said.
The SOTTO maintains the list of patients in need of organs and also the priority list of patients. So far kidney transplant is the only specialty in the state.
Meanwhile, the requests from the GMC doctors to acquire 2 kinds of machinery that are necessary for testing in organ donation and transplant procedures. These are the lymphocyte cross matching machinery along with HLA tissue typing machine. However, this too has failed to evoke any response from the GMC management.
The requests were made more than six years ago. The GMC doctors carrying out transplants have been forced to get the reports by sending samples to Mumbai.
Health Minister Vishwajit Rane has taken a serious note of the lapses on the part of the concerned GMC officials and directed that a system should be put in place to prevent negligence in future. He has also launched an inquiry into this lapse in order to find out where the GMC is lacking and how best the problem can be solved.
Information credit – The Navhind Times