Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Call it the ‘Hithendran effect,’ the public have started making enquiries about donating organs of brain-dead patients.

A.P. Hithendran fell from his bike and sustained head injuries while trying to avoid a bus at Teacher’s Nagar, between Thirukazhkundram and Chengalpattu, on September 20. On Sunday, the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Ponnamallee, conducted a symposium on ‘Organ donation, organ transplant and fuller life’ to create awareness of multiple organ donation and to felicitate Hithendran’s parents S. Ashokan and Pushpanjali Ashokan.

C.V. Bhirmanandam, former Vice-Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University, said the Ashokans had created a national movement by donating their son’s organs, even as they were battling a personal tragedy.

The need of the hour, he said, was to create awareness among the people of organ donation. Furthermore, the IMA and non-government organisations should stay in touch with doctors and the police so that no time was wasted while transporting organs.

“The State government should reserve one or two seats for the donor’s family in colleges or higher education, or provide jobs. The government can also consider providing incentives,” he said.

Mohan Rajan, chairman and medical director, Rajan Eye Care Hospital, said that in Chennai alone, around 80-90 deaths occurred every day owing to road accidents. But only 8-10 pairs made it to eye banks. “We can close the gap between demand and supply by educating people on donating eyes.”

Medical practitioner L.S. Krishnagopal felicitated Mr. and Mrs. Ashokan and suggested that a chapter on organ donation be incorporated into the syllabus.

N. Madhu Sankar, head of Cardiac Transplant Team, Frontier Life Line, said India had to catch up with the rest of the world in heart transplantation. The number was lower in the country owing to the lack of awareness and the presence of heterogeneous society, among other things.

The speakers lauded the traffic police for helping the medicos transfer organs of brain-dead people to the recipients in a record time.