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Myths, fears surrounding organ donation must be dispelled: AIIMS director

He was speaking at a 'donor felicitation' programme organised on Tuesday by the Organ Retrieval Banking Organisation (ORBO), the nodal facility for deceased organ and tissue donation activities of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.

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A significant number of patients die every year due to end-stage organ failure because of non-availability of organs and tissues, AIIMS director Dr M Srinivas has said, asserting that myths and fears surrounding organ donations must be dispelled.

He was speaking at a ‘donor felicitation’ programme organised on Tuesday by the Organ Retrieval Banking Organisation (ORBO), the nodal facility for deceased organ and tissue donation activities of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.

Families of several donors, including 16-month-old Rishant, 18-month-old Mahira, Rolly (age 2), Manshi (8), Shivani Divakar (17), Raj Kumar Shukla (47), and Snehlata Choudhary (62), were felicitated. Many donor families and transplant recipients were also present at the event. ”Every year, we lose a significant number of patients to end-stage organ failure due to non-availability of organs and tissues. We must dispel the myths and fears and develop a positive attitude towards organ and tissue donations in the society,” Srinivas said.

He expressed gratitude to the donors and their families for the noble deed of saving so many lives at the time of their grief.

Dr Aarti Vij, head of ORBO, said the process of organ retrieval to transplantation is very extensive. It takes efficient coordination and team work between donor families, transplant coordinators, treating physicians, transplant teams, support staff, forensic department, blood bank, laboratory department and police for the entire sequence of events to be seamless, she said. Apart from these stakeholders, there are many hands that work for this noble cause. Several volunteers, NGOs, organisations, media and the society at large also contribute effectively. ”… ORBO maintains an exhaustive website and e-book in which stories of these divine souls and brave families are updated regularly so that their legacy lives on,” Dr Vij said.

To promote organ and tissue donation, ORBO had conducted awareness camps and mass organ and tissue pledging campaigns, a statement by AIIMS said. The ORBO, in collaboration with the Border Security Force (BSF), had organised mass pledging campaign of the serving personnel of BSF through the year 2021-2022. A large number of officers and soldiers of BSF pledged their organs and tissues with ORBO. The donor cards were handed over to Commandant (Medical) BSF on Tuesday.

The ORBO had also organised several competitions on the topic amongst medical professionals, general public and school students to spread awareness and promote organ and tissue donation. Among those felicitated at the event are Dr Raman Kumar Choudhary (63), who donated the organs of his wife Snehlata Choudhary from Jharkhand’s Saraikela. ”Snehlata was always involved in social activities and supported the cause of organ donation. This is the reason why we decided to donate her organs which offered a fresh lease of life to four people,” he said.

Snehlata had sustained severe head injury during her morning walk this August. She was initially operated in Jamshedpur and then airlifted to AIIMS, Delhi. Her condition did not improve and she was finally declared brain dead on September 30. Inspired by his wife, Raman said, ”I also wish to donate my organs after my death.” Divya, mother of another multi-organ donor, said, ”My daughter Lata was under treatment in AIIMS for long. I used to see the hoardings and flexes of ORBO about organ donors and inspired by this, I decided to donate my daughter’s organs. We could not do ‘kanyadaan’ (marriage ritual) of my daughter, instead I chose ‘angdaan’ (organ donation) so that other lives could be saved.” Transplant coordinator of ORBO, Rajiv Maikhuri said counseling about organ donation is an essential step for families of brain dead patients. ”The standard practice includes that the physicians call a transplant coordinator before meeting with the families of potential donors. Screening for potential organ donors in intensive care units and professional counseling are key components needed to promote deceased donations,” he said.

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