The Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), arguably has the best surgeons for kidney and liver transplantation in the capital. And yet in the last four years, not a single cadaver transplantation was taken up at NIMS. Government-run Gandhi and Osmania General Hospitals do not even have a cadaver transplant programme. Thus, effectively the cadaver transplantation programme has gone into hands of private corporate hospitals in the capital.
Ironically, NIMS was the first hospital in the State to take up kidney cadaver transplantation in 2002. Since then, however, the surgeons took up only 26 cadaver kidney transplants. There is more! Since 2002, surgeons at NIMS managed to conduct three heart transplants while liver transplantation is yet to take-off.
Whenever a brain death case comes up, private hospitals do not ‘share' organs collected from the deceased donor to NIMS. That's why, thousands of poor patients needing kidney transplantation, who don't have close relatives to donate organs, do not come to NIMS seeking help. They depend on corporate hospitals.
“Why should we share our organs with NIMS? They don't have a programme to declare critical patients as brain dead. They do not take part in any awareness drives on the need to take up cadaver transplants. NIMS has to produce organs by having a system to declare brain dead patients,” is the argument put forward by corporate hospitals.
So, why are cadaver transplantations not happening at NIMS? According to persons familiar with the issue, reasons for failure of cadaver transplantation programme at NIMS are many. The hospital does not have a dedicated team of neurosurgeons who can declare a critical patient as brain dead but are overburdened by their own department's work.
There is no separate transplantation department with dedicated ventilators; beds, personnel and system that will make relatives of critically ill patients come forward for organ donation. “There is no concerted effort in employing organ co-ordinators, counselling facilities and counsellors. In the last four years, not a single critically ill patient has been declared brain dead at NIMS,” experts maintained.
Keywords: cadaver transplantation