Army heroes leave behind legacy of life | india | Hindustan Times
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Army heroes leave behind legacy of life

Over 500 armymen, including several major generals, have pledged their organs with the Armed Forces Organ Retrieval and Transplant Authority, reports Rahul Singh.

india Updated: Sep 15, 2007 04:10 IST
Rahul Singh

Over 500 armymen, including several major generals, have pledged their organs with the Armed Forces Organ Retrieval and Transplant Authority (AFORTA). The venture was launched at the Army’s Research and Referral (RR) Hospital in early 2007 to counter organ shortfall.

Though organ donation is still in an embryonic stage in the army, the venture is sure to gain momentum with the top brass in the vanguard.

Lieutenant Generals DS Bartwal, Director General of Military Intelligence; KS Dogra, Director General of Army Air Defence; Yogendra Singh, head of Armed Forces Medical Services; Air Marshal JK Gupta and Vice-Admiral Sujan Singh carry their donor cards in their wallets among others. RR Hospital commandant Major General OP Mathew was one of the frontrunners.

According to AFORTA head Colonel AK Seth, a donor, while the Indian count is only 0.05 donors per million, the West records over 50 donors per million. “There are several myths and people fear donating organs. The generals will help shade some of those.”

The motivating factor, according to Lieutenant General Yogendra Singh, is the “sense of fulfillment in saving someone’s life”.

The Research and Referral Hospital has carried out five multi-organ transplants after AFORTA was created. In the latest case, the organs of a havildar, killed in an accident last week, were transplanted last week to save three terminally ill patients and restore sight to two others.

If you are still not convinced, meet Major Sidharth Malik, who donated the kidneys and eyes of his 18-month-old son Shaurya after the toddler fell off the balcony of their home and died last December.

Malik said, “My heart swells with pride when I think my little boy illuminated the lives of others. We had to make his death meaningful.”

Malik was recognised for his heroics in the Northeast and was decorated with the Sena Medal. However, Shaurya remains his eternal war hero.