A government hospital in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu is setting up a cadaver maintenance programme. The state has witnessed flurry of organ donations by relatives of the deceased.
A doctor couple, Asokan and Pushpanjali, donated their son Hitendran's organs after he suffered brain death following a road accident recently, saving nine lives in the process. Their gesture seems to have captured the imagination of many in the state, and so many are following suit.
Enthused by such instances, the Institute of Surgical Gastroenterology and Liver Transplant at the Stanley Hospital in Chennai, capital of Tamil Nadu, is to implement the cadaver maintenance project.
The institute, a pioneer in government hospitals, will help in co-ordinating and regulating organ retrieval and transplant in the state, as well as help bring down instances of organ trafficking. The programme has been conceived to save lives of several patients with end-stage organ diseases through organ transplants.
"This is a pilot project. It has complicated procedures, but we can successfully implement it,'' said Dr R Surendran, head of the institute in Stanley.
To begin with, the institute will have an exclusive ward with intensive care facilities, necessary infrastructure and equipment for maintenance of cadavers of the brain-dead. The government has sanctioned Rs 1.92 crore initially as non-recurring expenditure for setting up the ward and Rs 1.11 crore as recurring expenditure for paying the doctors and staff.
The available space in the surgical gastroenterology block in the institute will be used for the purpose with some structural modifications costing Rs 20 lakh. A high-end transport ambulance worth Rs 25 lakh will be purchased to pick up brain-dead patients without charging the relatives. High-end ventilators and multi-parameter monitors would be needed to keep five brain dead patients. Once the ward is set up, relatives of those declared brain-dead can be assured that their organs would be harvested legally and transplanted to 10 potential recipients of various organs for each donor, health officials said.
Four medical officers will be posted exclusively for the ward, assisted by 18 staff nurses, six physician assistants, two grief counsellors, one transplant co-ordinator, six hospital workers and an ambulance driver. Potential recipients would be identified from a database compiled from records of various hospitals.
The donors' relatives would not be charged at any level. On successful initiation and running of the programme, the Centre could be approached for funding, officials said, Times of India reports.