Medicine has progressed leaps and bounds via transplant surgery in the present day. Organ donation after brain death can save the life of nine persons and improve the lives of many more.
However, due to prevalence of myths, superstitions and lack of awareness in India, a majority of people do not prefer this noble gift of life for others.
The medical experts during an awareness programme on organs donation organised at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital stated that there is a need to make the public aware about brain death and motivate them for organ donation.
In India, there is a need of 1,75,000 kidneys, 50,000 hearts and 50,000 livers for transplantation each year.
As against the demand, around 5,000 kidney transplants, 400 livers and around 15 hearts are transplanted.
If we take the case of Ludhiana alone, the city requires around 400 kidneys for transplantation each year.
Dr Baldev Singh Aulakh, head of kidney transplant surgery, department of urology at DMCH, said, "Brain death is the complete stoppage of brain function without any possibility of recovery. But the other organs of the body can be surgically removed for organ donation after brain death. The kin of the deceased are usually hesitant to donate organs after brain death."
According to experts, kidney, a part of lung, a part of liver, blood and bone marrow can be donated while alive. But in cadaver donation (after death), more organs and tissues such as heart, pancreas and cornea can be donated under proper medical supervision if the organs of the brain dead patient have been maintained on ventilator till organs/tissues are taken out and preserved.
Dr Aulakh who is also the president of Gift of Life Organ Donation Awareness Society, says, "Lakhs of people with functional organs are dying because of head injuries and other medical illnesses and their organs can be used to save precious lives."
He further adds that 95 % kidneys and livers are donated by living persons whereas in western countries, 70 % transplanted organs are from brain dead people.
Aulakh says, "In India, one person is dying of kidney failure every five minutes. The central government is currently working on a new draft of the Human Organ Rules 2012 in which the health ministry has suggested that all people applying for driving licenses be asked whether they're willing to donate their organs upon death or not."
"Around 245 Indians die in road accidents every day. Of them 40% accident-victims are left brain dead. Promoting deceased donation helps in kidney, liver, heart, pancreas and lungs transplants, facilitating the lives of many patients," says Dr Daljit Singh, principal of DMC.