A WhatsApp message goes like this: Dear Friends, There are four kidneys available. They belong to yesterday’s accident victims Sudheer and his wife (my friend’s colleague), who have been declared brain dead by the doctor. Sudheer is B+ and his wife is O+. Their family has decided to donate the kidneys for a humanitarian cause. Please circulate. (Three contact numbers were given- one of them rings but no one picks up; the second one is switched off and the third number does not exist)
Even after so many years since the Government started the Mrithasanjeevani to promote deceased donor organ transplantation, such messages are nothing but mischiefs, said Dr. Sulphi Noohu, an avid social media contributor or various health issues and former State office bearer of Indian Academy of Paediatrics.
It creates confusion among people on the way organ donation can be done. Even now there seems to be little idea on how and what goes behind organ donation, he added.
The fact that organs cannot be donated through WhatsApp or any other social media platform shows the level of awareness even among knowledgeable people in the general public, said a transplant surgeon. Dr. Noohu and a few other medical professionals who did not want to be named, said while these messages had been circulating for long, there is perhaps a lobby working against cadaver donations because there is no money in it. Whereas, money changes hands in almost all live donations. Agents get to know all details of patients through hospitals and they are approached for live donations in exchange of a sum.
Even as a medical board has to certify that a person is donating kidney for altruistic reasons, there are no investigations as the paper work looks foolproof, said a transplant surgeon.
According to him, about 99% of the donations are not altruistic. “We get to know about it as the altruistic donor always asks about the consequences of the operation and is keen to know about the health afterwards. However, others ask no questions about their well being after the donor surgery.”