Doctors need to raise knowledge in transplant: expert

Many young health-care professionals in Kerala are very keen and motivated to take the deceased organ donation programme forward, but they need to raise their level of confidence and knowledge of all aspects of organ transplant, Maria Paula Gomez, Executive Director, Donation and Transplantation Institute (DTI ), Spain, said.

She was interacting with the media at the end of a three-day training workshop for Transplant Procurement Managers, organised by Kerala Network for Organ Sharing (KNOS) and DTI Foundation here on Wednesday.

Dr. Gomez, who has been working closely with the KNOS, the nodal agency manning the State’s deceased donor organ donation programme, Mrithasanjeevani, for the past three years, pointed out that it is the lack of commitment on the part of various heads of departments and individual hospital administrations that is preventing deceased donation from taking off in Kerala. It is totally unacceptable that a centre like the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital, with a set of highly qualified professionals, has been doing so poorly when it comes to deceased organ donations, she added

Life-saving therapy

Deceased organ donation is a life-saving therapy and health-care professionals, who have committed themselves to saving lives, should do their best to enable it, especially when so many people with end-stage organ failure are waiting for organs and dying in Kerala, Dr. Gomez said.

The workshop, attended by some 70 health-care professionals from various hospitals across the State, was led by DTI Foundation, Spain. It focussed on improving the skills and knowledge levels of health-care professionals in various aspects of deceased donor organ donation, from identifying and assessing donor suitability, improving the maintenance of donors in ICUs and brain death certification to counselling grieving families.

“The doctors in Kerala are highly qualified but they have a lot of inhibitions. Improving their knowledge and skills will give them all the confidence they need. But unless they are backed by their colleagues and a committed hospital administration, the deceased organ donation initiative will not progress smoothly,” Dr. Gomez stressed.

Dr. Gomez expressed her surprise and disappointment that while the DTI has helped over a hundred nations to set up their own deceased donation transplant programmes, never before has she encountered so much negativity and passiveness among doctors as she did in Kerala.

“All activities leading to deceased donor organ donation are just essential skills that all critical care specialists need to have. It is totally manageable, once they gain the necessary knowledge and skills,” she added.

Spain, the world leader in deceased donor organ donation, with a high conversion rate (conversion of brain death into potential organ donors) of 85%, has implemented Universal Health Coverage and all expenses for donors, organ transplantation and life-long immunosuppressants for the organ recipient are fully covered by the government.

The success of the Spanish model has been the fact that it is their ICU physicians who lead the organ donation process from the front in hospitals, she said.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 2:14:09 AM |

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