Organ donation in Maharashtra has got another boost, following Monday’s successful heart transplant — the state government has made changes to the Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Act, 2011 to widen the scope of organ donation.
“The central government had already made the changes to the act, but we had not yet incorporated in the state. With these changes made to the act now, the organ donation movement in the state will get a boost, as processes will become easier and faster,” said chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya.
Among the main effects of the amendments is that organ donation will be opened up to grandparents and grandchildren — this was previously restricted to the first generation.
Another change is allowing any medical practitioner to declare a person brain-dead – earlier, only a neurologist or neurosurgeon was allowed to do so. Now, any surgeon, physician or anaesthetist will be included on the medical board to certify a brain death, which in turn, will push up scope of organ donations, as such professionals are always available at the hospital.
The amendment also makes it mandatory for ICU/treating medical staff to request the relatives of a brain-dead patients to donate organs.
It empowers the state to form authorisation committees to grant approvals for organ donations. At present, this power lies only with the medical education secretary.
The changes will also regulate tissue donation: although these are not for life-saving purposes, it is used for correcting a physical disability. Hospitals that undertake tissue transplant must get registered with the directorate of health services and a wait list of patients will be created.
The amendments also increase the penalty for those indulging in the illegal trade of organs.