The doctors here have estimated that each year more than 100,000 Indians suffer from end-stage renal disease and barely 3,500 are able to receive a donor kidney and only a small percentage of these are cadaver organs.

“Most patients waiting for an organ could live for many additional years if donor kidneys are available. Given this dismal state of affairs, there is a critical shortage of organs for transplant surgery and there is an urgent need for more people to pledge donating organs after death,” said All-India Medical Institute of Sciences Organ Retrieval Banking Organisation Faculty in-charge Arti Viz.

“We are trying to spread awareness about the need to pledge and donate organs to bridge the gap between the demand and supply. We are also teaching people the right way to donate organs by firmly conveying their wishes to family members and convincing them to honour the pledge,” she added.

To resolve the issue of the relatives of the deceased not allowing organ donation because of emotional or religious beliefs, several government and non-government organisations and hospitals have introduced and are aggressively promoting the concept of a donor card which enables a person to pledge their organs for donation after death.

“In India because of emotional and religious beliefs, the relatives often do not permit cadaver organ retrieval. We have also seen cases where despite the donor card, the families are reluctant to honour the donor's wish after death. We are now trying to educate people about the fact that though the deceased has no say after death because, by law, the body belongs to their next of the kin, it is important that they donate organs because there are several people waiting for them. In 90 per cent cases, even donor card holders' organs are not finally donated, since an individual's pledge is not binding on the family members,” added Dr. Viz.

A person waiting for a kidney or liver transplant can barely live a productive life. Such patients undergo immense suffering daily. Through cadaver organ donation, an individual can help save lives even after his or her death. Once brain stem death has been certified by the doctors, the body can go for organ donation with the consent of the relatives. Vital organs like the kidneys, liver, heart, cornea and tissues can be donated to enable others to live a long, healthy life.

Keywords: Organ donationAIIMS

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