In an effort to simplify the organ donation process, the State government has come out with an order that shortens the wait for police inquest prior to organ retrieval.
Families of organ donors now no longer need to wait for investigating police officers from the spot where the donor met with the accident.
The jurisdictional police in the vicinity of the hospital where the accident victim is declared brain dead can conduct the inquest before organ retrieval process can begin.
This move, following a request from the Health Department, is seen as a major boost to cadaveric organ donation in the State, as most of the time the delay in conducting inquest affects the quality of organs to be transplanted.
Additional Director-General of Police P.S. Sandhu told The Hindu on Wednesday that an order has been passed and all police officials have been sensitised to ensure there is no delay in the organ retrieval process. “We have now authorised the jurisdictional police in the vicinity of the hospital where the accident victim has been declared brain dead, to conduct inquest after the consent of the next of kin,” he said.
On April 8, Jawaid Akthar, Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare), wrote to Rajneesh Goel, Additional Chief Secretary to Government (Home), explaining the need for authorising jurisdictional police to conduct the inquest.
“When a person suffers serious injury in an accident, he may be shifted/referred to a hospital far away from the location of the police station where the case has been registered. Most of the time this is for better medical care. If the victim is declared brain dead at the hospital, the retrieval of organs is kept pending in the donor hospital till the arrival of the Investigating Officer from where the case was registered for conducting inquest. This delay jeopardises the quality of organs to be transplanted. This also results in additional hardship to the relatives of the deceased who are already traumatised by the death,” stated the letter by Mr. Jawaid Akthar.
Following this, the Home Secretary on April 29 wrote to Director-General and Inspector-General of Police Neelamani N. Raju asking her to instruct all Commissioners of Police in cities, Superintendent of Police in the districts, and Unit Officers to authorise the local police to conduct inquest.
Mr. Sandhu said soon after the letter was issued, the DG and IGP held a video conference with all top police officials to sensitise them on the important issue. “We had a sensitisation workshop for our officials in Bengaluru in this regard on Wednesday. Similar workshops will be conducted in Belagavi and Mysuru regions. More awareness about organ donation will be created by putting up posters (both English and Kannada) in every police station,” he said.
Kishore Phadke, convener of Jeevasarthakathe, the governement’s nodal agency that facilitates cadaveric organ donations, said it was a much-needed step.
“Many families feel the long wait for the arrival of investigating officers from the accident site is traumatising. Also, if the organ retrieval process is delayed, it may affect the quality of organs. We hope the Home Department’s move will further boost cadaveric organ donation in the State,” he added.