After that, we had a talk on Transplanting organs by Dr. Gokhale, Cardio Surgeon from Global Hospitals. Dr. Gokhale gave a dark picture of the heart problems in India, when he shared with us the medical prediction from WHO that by 2015, 60% of the heart patients in the world will be from India! He then listed out some of the problems in Transplantation of organs in India - Lack of Information, Bad transportation facilities, High cost of stay in major cities, Unhealthy environment and increase in chances of infection were some of the reasons cited by him. He also went over the problems of using Immuno suppressants, and the side effects.
We then had Dr. Sumana giving us an overview of the forms that were to be used during Transplantation. There were 13 forms in all of which 12 were in use. She emphasized why the paperwork was vital to the whole process. Sometimes unscrupulous people could "marry" a potential kidney donor and get the organ easily, which needed to be checked out by the Government. The whole process should not be sabotaged by people making a business out of the misery of patients on one hand, and poor desperate uneducated mass of Indian people on the other. She also went over the amendments made in the Transplantation of Human Organs Act which was now Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act. The near relatives could now include Grandparents and Grandchildren, and Swap donations would also be allowed.
This session was followed by a short session by Dr. Surendra Reddy from the Forensic Science Lab. He explained the importance of forensics in medico-legal cases, the steps involved in post mortem.
After lunch, we had two Transplant coordinators Ms. Jayalakshmi from Global Hospitals and Ms. Parvathy from NIMS who shared their personal experiences with us. They discussed some real life cases pointing out why and how there were communication breakdowns and where it could be improved.
The last session was taken over by Dr. K. Gayathri from the Immunology Department, and Consultant Lifeline Tapadia Speciality. It was a great session with Dr. Gayathri taking the whole lot of nurses, social workers into the world of HLA cross matching - it did not matter that some of us did not have a biology background; the explanation was very lucid right from the very first step! We learnt how proteins on the cell surface or membrane are unique for every individual, and how if a different protein structure is encountered, the body immediately destroys the intruder. The greatest obstacle to Transplantation was the body rejecting the donor organ as 'not-self' and this very HLA matching would give doctors a good idea of how the body will react to the new donor organ. The session ended with Dr. Gayathri giving us details of other tests that should be done during an Organ Transplantation which included Blood Grouping, Viral Screen, Disease Screen and Storage of Samples.