In a first of sorts in the city, the skin and eyes of a 73-year-old woman were harvested on Friday evening.
The organs were donated following an online pledge made by the donor.
J. Sumitha, a resident of Vettuvankeni, had been ill for some time. “Last year, she got in touch with us and pledged her organs on our website. At that time, she was bedridden and paralysed on one side. But she insisted on donating,” said Sunil Shroff, managing trustee, MOHAN Foundation, an NGO that promotes organ donation.
When Mrs. Sumitha passed away on Friday afternoon, her family immediately informed the foundation, said Dr. Shroff.
The foundation then contacted G. Balakrishnan, medical director and consultant plastic surgeon, Right Hospitals. “About 1,500 sq. cm. of skin from her lower limbs was harvested,” said Dr. Balakrishnan.
He said age did not matter when it came to skin donation — skin can be harvested at any age. “The more people come forward to donate, the more helpful it will be for treating those with major burns,” he said.
“My mother was a very forward-thinking person. She believed everything around us could teach us something and she valued all life,” said Mrs. Sumitha’s daughter, Supraja Dharini, chaiperson of Tree Foundation, an NGO for environmental conservation.
Mrs. Sumitha’s eyes went to Government Ophthalmic Hospital in Egmore. “This donation underlines the fact that a committed individual can bring about change. About 10,000 online pledges have been made on our website. Donor cards and online pledging play a very important role today,” said Dr. Shroff.