Edakkattuvayil panchayat could perhaps begin a mass movement for organ donation — both live and cadaver. Considering the people’s eagerness in making their contribution for 17-year old Swathi Krishna, who is recuperating after a slice of her aunt’s liver revived her back to life, the panchayat could well set a standard of sorts.
The villagers had raised funds for Swathi Krishna’s transplant surgery, with almost all the villagers contributing to keep Swathi’s father Krishnan Kutty’s faith in his own villagers.
The mass movement, initially to meet the financial needs of the operation, has now taken a new turn with many coming forward to donate organs. K. Jayakumar, the panchayat president, told The Hindu that he was receiving calls not only from his panchayat, but also from far off places like Kannur to ensure the person’s name for organ donation if a platform was thus formed. He said the panchayat would form an organisation to promote organ donation starting with an awareness programme on the same.
It was Swathi’s aunt Rainy Joy’s gesture to come forward to donate her liver that made people think, said Mr. Jayakumar. Never before has there been such a movement even as the Society for Organ Retrieval and Transplantation had been trying to create awareness of the kind for the last 12 years in the State. It was only in recent times that the SORT has facilitated organ donation from brain-dead people. The most recent one was four months ago when an engineering student from Kozhikode was declared brain dead and his parents George and Thressiamma agreed to donate their son’s liver, kidneys and eyes to save others’ lives.
Overall, the SORT has facilitated 13 such cadaver transplants. The first case was in 2004, the maximum cases were five in 2006 and last year there were two cases.
The people’s willingness to donate organs was rather commendable, said Vasanth Shenoy, joint secretary of SORT. An awareness programme would be taken up in association with the panchayat, he said.
With actor Mohanlal endorsing organ donation, the people involved in the field believe that the movement would be sustained. The actor while releasing a documentary titled Oru Kanivinte Ormaykkai, directed by Sasi Kalariyel and produced by Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, had said that existing laws must be amended to suit present times and that awareness on organ donation should be intensified.
S. Sudheendra, who led the transplant surgery for Swathi Krishna at the AIMS, said that the risk of the donor is much less than the risk of being killed in a road accident.
Kidney and liver donors face only the risk of an operation and only healthy people are considered as donors, he said.
In both cases, the donor can get back to normal life in two to three months. The donated liver would grow back in about three months, said Dr. Sudheendra. The body functions are not all affected with only one kidney.
Edakkattuvayil panchayat has also decided to create a charity fund that would be utilised to meet the needs of the people who require complex surgeries or would require huge funds for treatment. People from civil society with the panchyat president in the chair would manage the charity fund, said Mr. Jayakumar.
The charity fund would have a monthly collection and the panchayat would also appeal for donations by the people celebrating birthdays, weddings etc.