Hospitals across Maharashtra may soon lose their licences for performing organ transplants if they fail to identify cadaver donors.
The state health department has issued warning letters to 56 hospitals, which failed to identify any potential cadaver donor last year. The hospitals will not only lose their licences for performing cadaver transplants but also for live related transplants, said state health officials.
Cadaver transplants refer to the act of retrieving organs from brain stem dead patients and transplanting them into patients battling end stage organ failures. Individuals who develop irreversible brain damage as a result of stroke or accident related trauma are declared brain dead after confirmatory tests are conducted by a specialised team.
“We have asked these hospitals to actively participate in the cadaver transplant programme. The least they can do is start identifying cadaver donors in ICUs and try to convince families,” said Dr Kempi Patil, assistant director, state health department. Dr Patil said that many hospitals don’t even have a transplant coordinator.
The state health department has also drawn a list of hospitals which have received cadaver organs, but have never contributed to the pool of donors.
According to the Zonal Transplant Coordination Committee (ZTCC), 11 hospitals in the city, including three major public hospitals — Nair Hospital in Mumbai Central, JJ Hospital in Byculla and Sion Hospital — have not facilitated any cadaver donation in 2014. Experts said that public hospitals at any time would have at least four to five cadavers in their intensive care units.
Kohinoor Hospital in Kurla and Asian Heart Institute in Bandra are amongst the private hospitals, which have not facilitated any cadaver donors. “In the last three years, we have not had a single case of brain stem death. Cancelling the licence may not be the best idea. Instead, hospitals should be motivated,” said director, Asian Heart Institute, Dr Panda.
“Only those hospitals, which have functional organ transplant wings, are putting efforts to have cadaver donors,” said a transplant coordinator of a private hospital.