In a move that could bolster organ transplant, the Karnataka government has cleared the way for hospitals to harvest organs from brain dead patients. The only condition is that these hospitals should have an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and be specifically registered for the purpose. Until now, only 40 hospitals in the State were authorised to harvest and transplant organs.

A Government Order (GO) dated October 31 permits the registration of hospitals that have 25 beds along with an operation theatre and an ICU as Non-Transplant Organ Retrieval Centres (NTHORCs). According to the GO, these hospitals will be permitted to certify brain deaths as per the procedures stipulated in the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act, 1994 and guidelines issued by the State Appropriate Authority.

Thereafter, these hospitals can conduct organ retrieval for therapeutic purposes. However, the hospitals cannot conduct the actual transplantation of human organs, according to the GO.

The GO also says that the registered NTHORCs can take assistance and support from any registered transplant centres for maintaining the brain dead person in stable condition till the organ harvesting is carried out.