With a huge potential for cadaveric organ donations in Bangalore, the Zonal Coordination Committee of Karnataka (ZCCK) for Organ Transplantation is pushing to get NIMHANS and Victoria Hospital’s Super-Speciality Trauma Centre recognised as non-transplanting organ retrieval centres.

ZCCK secretary D. Ramesh told The Hindu on Friday that as a number of cases pertaining to road accidents and neurological disorders that have the potential of being declared as brain dead come to NIMHANS, and cadaveric organ donation programme could gain momentum if this premier hospital is recognised as an organ retrieval centre.

Process on

“The process for getting NIMHANS recognised has begun and we will soon take up the case of Victoria Hospital’s trauma centre. As of now if a case of brain death occurs in any hospital, we to have take the body to a transplantation centre where the organs can be retrieved, harvested and transplanted,” Dr. Ramesh explained. “If recognised, NIMHANS will be the first organ retrieval centre in the State.

The Union government has brought out a prescribed application format for recognition of organ retrieval centres.”

Confirming this, NIMHANS Director P. Satishchandra said the process would be initiated soon and taken forward. “We need to first develop a team and study the feasibility. I am keen on taking it forward,” he said.

Although ZCCK has been able to facilitate multi-organ donations from 50 donors from its inception in 2007 till date, cadaveric organ donation programme is hit because of delay in certifying brain deaths by hospitals.

Remains on paper

While the State government had proposed to issue a Government Order (GO) to make it mandatory for hospitals with intensive care units (ICUs) to report brain deaths to the ZCCK, it is still on paper.

In the absence of any rules there is hardly any initiative from hospitals to promote cadaver organ donation and transplantation. Sources in the State Appropriate Authority said this could also be because live organ donations mean more money for the hospitals.

“Although the transplant package ranges from Rs.1.25 lakh to Rs.2.5 lakh in various hospitals (the surgery and hospitalisation costs are the same for both cadaveric and live donations), there are various means for the hospitals to make more money through live donations,” a senior member of the Appropriate Authority said.

He said even if two accident-related brain death cases are reported every day to the ZCCK, the backlog of patients waiting for organ transplants could be reduced drastically.

The waiting list

Of the 880 persons registered with the ZCCK for organ transplants, 760 are waiting for kidney transplants. There are 34 people waiting for heart, nine for lungs, four for heart and lung, one for kidney and pancreas and 73 for liver transplant.

The number could be more as not all patients waiting for organ transplants may have registered with the ZCCK for Transplantation.