She collapsed on her wedding day, but saved other lives

Chaitra K.R. who collapsed during her wedding reception declared brain dead at Kolar.

Chaitra K.R. who collapsed during her wedding reception declared brain dead at Kolar.

Little did the parents of 26-year-old Chaitra K.R. in Kodicheruvu at Srinivasapura taluk in Kolar district expect the tragic turn of events on her wedding reception day. She collapsed on the stage during the reception on February 6 and was taken to NIMHANS the following day. Doctors said she had suffered a brain stem stroke and declared her clinically brain dead on February 10.

Amidst such grief, her parents were generous enough to donate her vital organs and the retrieval was done at NIMHANS on February 11. This was the first multi-organ retrieval done at NIMHANS.

The brother of the donor, Purushottam K.R., told The Hindu that Chaitra was fine almost till the fag end of the reception and collapsed around 9.30 p.m. “We wanted her to be in our memory forever with this deed of saving the lives of others even in her own passing away,” he said. He added that she had contracted a mild infection of COVID-19 two months ago, but was fine within a few days.

Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar, said in a tweet, “This is a noble gesture and it should be a role model to everyone.”

Although a number of cases pertaining to road accidents and neurological disorders that have the potential of being declared as brain-dead are brought to NIMHANS, organ retrieval was not being done till two years ago as it had not been authorised as an retrieval centre.

NIMHANS Director Pratima Murthy told The Hindu on Saturday that the premier mental health institution got authorised as a non-transplanting organ retrieval centre two years ago. “While this is the first multi-organ retrieval at NIMHANS, we have had 16 cornea retrievals and one skin donation here so far,” she said.

She said the institute has now requested for support from the State Government to set up a full-fledged organ retrieval centre. “We specialise in neurosurgeries and do not have a facility for organ retrieval. We cannot afford to utilise the existing ICUs for this as the patient flow is high here. Hence, we have asked for four ventilator beds and the required human resources to run the centre.” The proposal was submitted recently to the Government.

NIMHANS Resident Medical Officer (RMO) Shashidhara H.N. said so far if a brain death occurred in the hospital, the body was shifted to a transplantation centre. “Although the National Organ and Tissue Transplantation Organisation (NOTTO) authorised NIMHANS as a non-transplanting organ retrieval centre in 2020, we could not take up retrieval of organs because of logistical concerns. However, we were able to do this on Friday in coordination with Jeevasarthakathe, the State Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (SOTTO), and Mohan Foundation,” the RMO said.

An organ transplantation committee is in place at NIMHANS since 2020.

Jeevasarthakathe Chief Transplant Coordinator Lijamol Joseph said although the donor’s kidneys were also retrieved, they could not be used. “The donor had suffered a stroke and we were able to utilise her heart valves and corneas,” she said.

She said Jeevasarthakathe had already facilitated seven organ donations this year of which two were this month alone. “Organ donations that were badly hit during the pandemic are picking up now. We had 35 donations in the first year of the pandemic (2020) and 70 in 2021., the second highest in the country. Prior to the pandemic, in 2019 we had 105 donations,” she said.

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2022 8:04:04 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/she-collapsed-on-her-wedding-day-but-saved-other-lives/article65037567.ece