Organ donations pick up pace in T.N.

Over the last seven months, organ donations have gradually picked up pace in the government sector in Tamil Nadu. In a step towards improving organ donations, more government medical college hospitals are set to function as Non-Transplant Organ Retrieval Centres (NTORC) in the State.

According to data available with the Transplant Authority of Tamil Nadu (TRANSTAN), there were 18 brain-dead donors in government hospitals from January to August (till 17th) this year. This number is high when compared to last year (January to December 2021), during which government hospitals registered a total of five donors.

“We consider this as a significant achievement when compared to last year. To improve this further, the process to enable more government medical college hospitals to function as organ retrieval centres has begun. As of date, we have 13 government hospitals that hold organ transplant licenses to certify brain death and perform transplants. The military hospital was the only NTORC so far. Chengalpattu Medical College Hospital did their first organ retrieval last week,” R. Kanthimathy, member secretary of TRANSTAN, said.

Health Minister Ma. Subramanian had convened two review meetings with deans of all government medical college hospitals, following which the remaining institutions were told to obtain licenses to start functioning as NTORCs initially, she added. There are 36 government medical college hospitals, including 11 new ones in Tamil Nadu. Officials of the Directorate of Medical and Rural Health Services, which is the appropriate authority, said they were receiving applications from the institutions to function as organ retrieval centres. As part of the process, teams would visit the hospitals and certify. “Already, licenses were issued to nearly three hospitals,” the official said.

As per norms, the appropriate authority can register all hospitals having a minimum of 25 beds along with operation theatre and intensive care units as NTORCs. They are permitted to certify brain death, as per procedure, and take up organ retrieval for therapeutic purposes.

“Once government medical college hospitals start functioning as NTORCs, organ donations will improve in the State. Organs retrieved from donors in government hospitals will be first offered to government hospitals. Priority is given for patients in government hospitals. As of date, nearly 2,700-odd patients are on the active wait list in government hospitals for kidney alone,” Dr. Kanthimathy said.

In future, these hospitals could upgrade to transplant centres depending on infrastructure and availability of specialists. T. Srikala Prasad, professor and head, Department of Urology, Chengalpattu Medical College Hospital, where a brain dead donor was identified and organs were retrieved last week, said the number of patients with end stage kidney diseases and requiring dialysis was quite high. A committee comprising neurophysician, neurosurgeon, anaesthetist and general medicine was formed for certification of brain death. “We retrieved two kidneys, liver and two corneas from the donor. We want to take the programme forward and also raise awareness on organ donation,” she said.

Another key highlight was resumption of liver transplants at Government Stanley Medical College Hospital. Jeswanth Satyanesan, director of Liver Transplantation, said that since April, a total of six liver transplants were performed at the hospital. “In fact, we travelled outside Chennai (to retrieve the organs) as there were two donors in Madurai and Salem,” he said.

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Printable version | Aug 19, 2022 12:51:46 am |