A mid-afternoon phone call at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, from a SAS Nagar private hospital on Lohri (Wednesday) to inform it of a 40-year-old brain-dead organ donor — a native of Solan — started a dramatic turn of events at top three hospitals in the region that has saved and transformed several lives in just 27 hours.
This HT reporter closely followed the turn of events that saw a successful combination of medical expertise working at speed and policy responses — the use of a special ‘Green Corridor’ that transported the organs in special ambulances in 12 minutes from the PGI to the airport—— combining together to achieve many firsts.
From the moment of the call (1pm Wednesday) to 4pm Thursday), seven organs had been harvested and the PGI had even started the process of transplant of pancreas, kidneys and cornea. The heart and liver were harvested first, followed by pancreas, kidneys and cornea.
The recipients had been called on from a waiting list that the PGIMER maintains. For the heart and the liver, the hospital could not find a suitable recipient and thus contacted the Army Research and Referral Hospital, New Delhi, and the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.
“The RR hospital asked for liver and AIIMS required heart. On Tuesday night, a team of doctors from the RR Hospital left for the PGIMER to collect the two organs, and reached here by 7.30am. The RR hospital arranged a special aircraft for taking the two organs to Delhi,” said an official from PGIMER.
Lynchpin: Transplant coordinator
The PGI transplant coordinator, who is the first to reach to such calls, said, “There was some resistance within the family. Finally, by 5.30pm on Wednesday, the donor’s son confirmed that the donor was ready. At 8.22pm, the donor had been admitted to the ICU, where a bed was reserved for him.”
While the donor’s body was stabilised, the PGIMER constituted a brain-death certification committee that certified the patient as such by 5.45am on Thursday.
“From 9:30am to 2pm, two organs — heart and liver — were harvested. Minutes later, these organs packed in blue and red boxes were carried in the military ambulance waiting outside the Nehru building,” said a PGI official.
At 2:20pm, the military ambulance which was led by the PCR vehicle and followed by PGIMER ambulance left for the airport.
A dedicated green corridor was established from the PGIMER to the Chandigarh international airport and the journey took 12 minutes for 20 km.
PGIMER officials said the organs were received by AIIMS and RR hospital at 4.40pm on Thursday.
Know the donor
The donor is a 40-year-old male architect from Solan’s Chambaghat village. He is survived by wife and two sons. The donor was a follower of Radha Soami Satsang, Beas.
On January 12, he was volunteering at a satsang ghar in Kasauli, when a tree fell on him and his head hit the rock, sources have claimed.
He was rushed to a hospital in Dharampur and then was referred to a private hospital in Mohali. On January 14, at 5.45am, he was declared brain-dead.