Organ donation is still a subject of debate in society. While everyone appreciates the idea of saving a life, few get down to donating organs. As Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here celebrates Organ Donation Day on August 7 and 8, we meet a few people who have set an example to emulate.
Dr Ajay Sharma took the lead by donating his 71-year-old mother’s kidneys just before she succumbed to injuries following an accident in Una this February. “It was a unanimous decision by the family and we thought it would give our mother’s soul peace as she liked helping people in need,” says Dr Sharma. “A part of her still lives in another body and this gives us satisfaction,” he adds. However, not all relatives were told of this as they would not have approved of it.
Yet another fine example was set by 28-year-old Navpreet Singh Gill, along with teachers and students of a BTech college at Sathiala near Amritsar. They collected lakhs of rupees for the treatment of a student, Shivam Kumar Shah, who had met with an accident outside Elante Mall in Chandigarh and later died at PGI.
When all efforts to save him failed, they donated his kidneys, liver and heart after consulting doctors and his parents.
New vision lives on
Organs can be donated when the patient is declared brain-dead but the body is still functioning. Ropar resident Subhash Chand Sharma was a little late in taking the decision so only the eyes of his 16-year-old daughter, who died on April 14 after a brain stroke, could be donated. “Ultimately, we all turn to dust, so why not help someone? I tried to find out who got my daughter’s eyes but it was against their rules,” says Sharma.
Spreading the light
Punjabi poet Jaswant Singh Zafar’s Facebook profile has been showered by blessings for honouring his 23-year-old son Vivek Singh Pandher’s decision to donate all his organs, made a year before his death due to a heat stroke. Zafar made sure that the organs were transplanted as soon as possible. Vivek died but gave life to seven other people.
To take the cause further, Zafar’s close friends actor Rana Ranbir, Dr Sandeep Jot and Dr Surjit Singh have initiated a ‘Vivek Leher’, aimed at spreading awareness about organ donation.
Talking to HT, Rana said, “We are organising ‘Vivek Milni’ (meet) at Guru Nanak Bhawan, Ludhiana, on August 14 to motivate people to pledge their organs. We would not go there to cry but to instil a new thinking among people regarding this.”
Zafar has forbidden mourning in honour of his brave son and paid him a moving tribute in poetry:
“Asi laad naal kehnde hunde, saadi akh da taara ‘lada’
ajj samein ehsas karaea, eh si sabh da pyara ‘lada’
Janda janda de gea e, kinea nu ‘sahara lada’.”
(We used to say out of love that he was the apple of our eyes. It is only now that we have realized, he was loved by all. Even while leaving, he gave a new life to so many).
*While some people think that if you are an organ donor, you will not be able to have an open casket funeral, in reality doctors perform the operation with precision, giving due respect to the body. The appearance of the body does not change after the donation procedure.
*Organ donation is not prohibited in any religion and no afterlife effects are mentioned in any religious book. It is a noble cause.
*The decision of extracting organs is taken after proper analysis and only after brain death or soon after death due to cardiac arrest.
*The family of the deceased does not have to pay the doctor for the donation.
Organs can be pledged online by signing the will form free of cost at ‘Lamp of Life’, the organ donation awareness initiative of PGIMER.