Parents wanted to donate organs, infant dies

December 09, 2017 12:00 am | Updated 05:07 am IST - Mumbai

Double tragedy for doctor couple from Amravati

Three-month-old baby Meera

Three-month-old baby Meera

The wish of a doctor couple from Amravati to see their infant daughter live through others was dashed on Friday. Baby Meera Sawarkar, their three-month-old baby girl — who was on ventilator since December 3 after an accident — died on Friday before her organs could be retrieved for donation. This was a rare case where the parents had expressed the desire to donate the organs of an infant.

On ventilator

The baby’s father, Dr. Umesh Sawarkar, a gynaecologist, and his wife Dr. Ashwini, a pathologist, were returning from an annual function of the Indian Medical Association to their Amravati home on Saturday when their car was rammed by another speeding vehicle around midnight. They were outside their home and the driver had alighted the car to open the gate of their house. Meera suffered severe head injury while Dr. Ashwini suffered a pelvic fracture. After initial treatment in an Amravati hospital, the baby was shifted to Central India’s Children Hospital and Research Institute (CICHRI), Nagpur, where the baby was on ventilator.

“The doctors carried out a brain MRI and told me that there is no improvement. That was the first time the thought of organ donation crossed my mind. When I told about the MRI to my wife, she too expressed the same wish immediately,” said Dr. Sawarkar. “We wanted our baby to be alive somewhere. Organ donation was our only hope,” he said.

While Dr. Sawarkar was initially told that organs of such young babies had never been retrieved, the topic was discussed at a national-level meeting of doctors that was taking place in Delhi. A permission soon came in and the doctors at CICHRI carried out first apnea test on Meera on Thursday at 10.30 a.m. To declare an adult as brain dead, two apnea tests are carried out with a gap of six hours, but in infants, it was suggested that a 24-hour gap was mandatory. The second test was due on Friday morning, but she succumbed at around 3.50 a.m.

Possible recipients

Two hospitals — Max in Saket, Delhi, and Medanta in Gurugram — had approached CICHRI for possible recipients in their waiting list. “We had started the formalities. A team was also arriving to retrieve her organs,” said paediatric intensivist Dr. Anand Bhutada from CICHRI.

According to Dr. Sawarkar, the failure to donate her organs has caused them as much trauma as losing their only child. Organ donations in children below one year haven’t been performed in India so far. As per media reports, the youngest donor is a 14-month-old baby from Gujarat whose heart and kidneys were donated in September this year.

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