For 20 days, the family of Jayashree Kasrung, a resident of Mandangarh in Ratnagiri district, prayed for her life, as she lay in the Intensive Care Unit at Nanavati Hospital, breathing through a ventilator. When the 45-year-old was declared brain-dead on February 13, they were shattered but decided to gift life to others.
Kasrung, who had a congenital condition due to which her heart could not pump blood properly, had developed complications after a gynaecological procedure in a Ratnagiri Hospital. Her family brought her to Mumbai. Unfortunately, she didn’t respond to treatment and suffered a brain stroke.
Dr Mohan Desai, director of medical services, approached her family to suggest them to donate her organs. “I switched off the ventilator for a minute to show them that she could not breathe on her own,” he said.
Kasrung’s husband Eknath, a rice farmer, and brothers Tilak and Dashrath Bhaikar immediately gave the doctors consent to retrieve her kidneys. This gesture has transformed the lives of two Mumbaiites, who will now lead healthier lives.
One was a 32-year-old woman who was on the wait-list for cadaver kidneys for over 2.5 years said, “I had suffered kidney failure due to high blood pressure four years ago. Since then I used to go for dialysis twice a week. I am very grateful to the family that has made my life normal again,” said the mother of two.
Kasrung is the sixth cadaver (brain-dead) donor since the beginning of the year. Mumbai has never had so many cadaveric donations (taking organs from the body of a brain-dead person) in such a short time span. “Awareness has increased and hospital staffers are also making more effort to counsel the kin of brain-dead patients to donate,” said Dr Vatsala Trivedi, secretary of the Zonal Transplant Co-ordination Committee.
Nephrologist Dr Sharad Sheth, who co-ordinated the transplant, said that the less educated families often have more faith in doctors. “They believed that we were encouraging organ donation to help others, not for any vested interest,” he said.
For Kasrung’s family, the knowledge that their loss has been a gain to others, brings a sense of contentment, even in their sorrow.