Fate took away Havildar Madan Mohan and Air Force Corporal Kamlesh Kumar's father before it was his time. Ramesh Chand was only 60 when he breathed his last at the Army's Research and Referral (RR) Hospital on Wednesday after sustaining grave injuries in a hit-and-run. But his sons have made sure his death does not go to waste, and in doing so have given a fresh lease of life to three others.
Mohan and Kumar rose above their grieve and donated their father's organs. One of Ramesh Chand's kidneys and his liver were transplanted to two serving soldiers at the army hospital while the other kidney was flown to Mumbai to save the life of a soldier's wife at the naval hospital, INS Ashwini.
Hospital Commandant Major General OP Mathew told HT that doctors worked on the retrieval and transplant through Wednesday night and all the recipients are now doing well. The procedure was carried out under the supervision of General Mathew, Brigadier RP Choubey and Colonel AK Seth.
Inter-city movement of organs is hardly the norm in the army. What made it possible is that army doctors have started maintaining an automated database of patients in need of life-saving transplants across military hospitals.
What's more, Ramesh Chand's was a peculiar case as it had a medico-legal dimension. A post-mortem was mandatory but army hospitals usually do not carry out that procedure. However, to facilitate speedy retrieval of the organs, a surgeon, Dr Khakha Alexander, was summoned from Safdarjung Hospital for the post-mortem.
Army spokesman Colonel SK Sakhuja said soldiers were being encouraged to pledge their organs under the aegis of the Armed Forces Organ Retrieval and Transplantation Authority. The Delhi Area's General Officer Commanding Major General KJS. Oberoi and his wife Vandana are among those who have decided to donate their organs to help save the lives of those in need. Beauty queens Gul Panag and Nikita Anand, both from army backgrounds, also pledged their organs at the RR hospital in April.
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