Over the last five days in Tamil Nadu, seven large-hearted people and their families have made the ultimate sacrifice – organ donation, so that many others can live on. Six donors shared with their recipients a total of 11 kidneys, five livers, a lung, and eight corneas. The donors included one each at ABC Hospital, Tiruchi, Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, here, Meenakshi Mission Hospital, Madurai and two at CMC Vellore. The seventh donor’s family has consented and harvesting is on at Apollo Hospital at the time of going to press. Doctors will harvest from the brain-dead patient two corneas, two kidneys and a liver, to be transplanted on other patients on end-stage organ failure.

“This is the first time that we have had such a spurt of cadaveric donations in the State,” explains J. Amalorpavanathan, State co-ordinator, Cadaver Transplant Programme. At the helm of affairs, he maintains that the recent donations, in rapid succession, have created a record of sorts.

Barring one, all the brain deaths occurred as a result of injuries sustained in road accidents. Reportedly, in most of the cases, the family volunteered to donate the organs, without counselling or coaxing.

“Clearly, awareness is picking up among the public,” says Jai Suresh, nephrologist, ABC Hospitals, Tiruchi. Though the south of the State has been rather slow, compared to Chennai, in cadaveric donations, the trend may finally be changing. K.Sampath Kumar, nephrologist, Madurai Meenakshi Mission Hospital, attests, “We have been involved in cadaveric transplants over the last ten years, but now we see a positive trend”.

All the organs were utilised but for a lung, (because the recipient collapsed) and a liver which was unfit. One patient donated one kidney and a liver. At Christian Medical College, Vellore, two donations took place on the same day, and four of the organs were used at the hospital itself, its medical superintendent says C.E.Eapen, CMC. “It is the first time we have had as many on a single day at the hospital.”

Working behind the scenes, to source and share organs were Sujatha Niranjan and Sindhuja Ram of MOHAN Foundation, and Amsa Priya of the National Network for Organ Sharing. “It is very helpful that there is a good system in place in Tamil Nadu,” explains Ms. Sujatha.

“The spurt is a result of a lot of things: media publicity, the work of the government and NGOs. Key to the whole thing is the very transparent organ sharing process in place in Tamil Nadu,” says Sunil Shroff, managing trustee, MOHAN Foundation.