“My wife did not live. But at least four other people can now live because of her,” said civil contractor Karthikeyan, breaking down after a cadaver surgery was performed to retrieve the vital organs of his wife, declared brain-dead, at a city hospital on Wednesday.
Madhumalar, a 25-year-old housewife and mother of a four-year-old girl, succumbed during an advanced surgery to remove a cyst in her brain at Kauvery Hospital, Thennur. Madhumalar had complained of severe headache three months back and was on medication. But with recurrence of headache, she approached Kauvery Specialty Hospital, Cantonment, where a CT scan taken showed a swelling caused by building up of fluid inside the skull, a condition termed hydrocephalus. When the patient did not regain consciousness after a surgery to release the swelling, an MRI was taken that revealed a cyst in the brain. During a surgery to remove the cyst, a rise in intracranial pressure (pressure inside skull) resulted in the surgery being suspended. The patient was declared brain-dead on Tuesday.
“The family came forward to donate the organs. It is vital to retrieve organs within 24 hours after brain death,” said Dr.Manivaanan. “They ought to be appreciated for taking the decision in a moment of emotional trauma as death in this case was sudden and unexpected.”
Recipients were identified on the State waiting list and Madhumalar’s kidneys were transplanted to patients in a Tiruchi hospital and Meenakshi Mission Hospital, Madurai. The liver was retrieved by a team from CMC , Vellore, corneas were sent to Joseph Eye Hospital, Tiruchi, and heart valves to Frontier Lifeline Hospital, Chennai. Though preparations to retrieve the heart were undertaken, efforts to arrange a suitable recipient fell through.
Awareness on cadaver donations was increasing and Tamil Nadu accounted for the highest number in the country, said Dr.Manivaanan.