In a major boost to the cadaver organ transplant programme, about 300 hospitals in the state have applied to the state directorate of health services (DHS) to start centres that will retrieve organs from brain dead patients but not perform transplants.
These ‘non-transplant organ retrieval centres’ (NTORC) will help increase the number of cadaver donations by identifying brain dead patients and retrieving their organs at their facility.
Having received 300 applications, of which a majority is from corporation or government-run hospitals, the state has formed medical expert teams to inspect these hospitals and grant them registrations.
“After four months of the circular issued in September, we received just 83 hospital applications.
"It is only after we wrote to individual hospitals asking them to apply for registration, did we get a better response,” said a senior official from the state health department.
However, with only nine of the 300 applications from Mumbai, last week, the DHS asked the civic body for a detailed list of hospitals in the city to request them to apply for NTORC registration.
“Becoming a retrieval centre is not a lucrative idea. After relatives consent for donation, the hospital cannot charge them and have to bear the cost of maintaining the brain dead patient and retrieving organs, “said the official adding that retrieval centres are not remunerated since they will not perform the transplant.
After Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh died before he could undergo a liver transplant at Global Hospital, Chennai, in September last year, the state health department issued a notification to allow hospitals with an intensive care unit and an operation theatre to identify brain dead patients and facilitate organ retrievals.
Experts however said that the government is taking too long to register the retrieval centres. “The state should automatically give registrations to hospitals which have the required infrastructure,” said Dr Gustad Daver, president of Zonal Transplant Coordination Committee.