The Armed Forces Organ Donation Initiative is growing and attaining new heights. Over last one week there have been two multiple organ donations. And what should be more satisfying is the fact that in both the instances, the families volunteered for organ donation even before they could be volunteered.
Colonel Dod was a brave officer. His family proved to be even braver. When Colonel Dod met with an unfortunate death due to intracerebral hemorrhage on 22 Mar 2010, the family wished to donate his organs to save the lives of terminally ill patients. The heart was given to a serving soldier with heart failure. The liver was transplanted to a father of a serving soldier suffering from end-stage liver failure whilst the kidneys were given to two patients suffering from renal failure.
Likewise, it was a hard time for Havildar Laxman Singh and his family. They lost their young 18 year old son, Ajay, to an illness on 27 Mar 10. They did not allow their son's life go in vain. They volunteered to donate his organs and give a new life to others. The liver was given to a serving soldier suffering from liver failure. One kidney was given to a daughter of a soldier and the second kidney went to a soldier. Both these patients were suffering from terminal renal failure and now can look forward to a new life. The noble gesture by the families of Col Dod and Hav Laxman Singh, at their hour of grief is surely the greatest act of kindness that a human can do for a fellow human being. a gesture that gave a second life to not one but to seven people.
This was the third cardiac transplantation in the hospital, a pioneering feat considering that very few cardiac transplants have taken place in our country. The number of liver transplantations done at Army Hospital (R&R) has risen to 41 that include 29 transplants done through organ donation. What distinguishes the liver transplantation programme at this hospital from other centres in the country is that the programme is primarily based on cadaveric organ donation.
The organ donation initiative in the Armed Forces is three years old and is coordinated by the Armed Forces Organ Retrieval and Transplantation Authority (AORTA) in Army hospital (R&R) under aegis of Office of the DGAFMS. A total of 89 brain deaths have been declared in this hospital. 30 of 66 families counselled for organ donation agreed, resulting in 28 multiple organ donations that have facilitated 29 liver (including one cadaveric split- liver transplantation, first of its kind in the country), 42 kidney, 3 heart, 13 heart valves and 46 corneal transplantations. A nearly 50 per cent rate of conversion from brain death to organ donation and 27 multiple organ donations is perhaps the highest by a single institute in the country.
The success of the organ donation and transplantation programme is due to the dedicated team effort by the doctors of Army Hospital (R&R) under the guidance of Commandant Lt Gen Naresh Kumar and support of the higher authorities of the Armed Forces Medical Services. But the real heroes of this initiative are the donor families like that of Col Dod, Hav Laxman Singh and the rest of the 27 donor families whose compassion, vision and the urge to do something good for the humanity has become a shining example for the rest of the society. They have truly given a new meaning to the oft repeated phrase "Live and let Live". Following their example over 5,000 soldiers, veterans and their families who have pledged with AORTA to donate their organs in the event of brain death.