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Lack of awareness, family members reluctancy hampering organ donation in India, says experts

12 Jun, 2023

 

Lack of awareness about organ donation and the unwillingness of people to donate their relatives’ organs are among the main reasons behind the rising number of patients languishing on a transplant waiting list, experts have said.

Dr K R Balakrishnan, Chairman of Cardiac Sciences at MGM Healthcare, said people don’t come forward to donate the organs of their loved ones after their death due to lack of awareness and myths associated with it.

“India is far behind other nations in terms of having access to donated organs. One of the primary causes of this is a lack of awareness regarding organ donation,” Dr Balakrishnan, who is also the Director of the Institute of Heart and Lung Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support (IHLTMCS) at the Chennai-based facility, said at a press conference in New Delhi on June 8.

One deceased donor may save eight lives, he said, adding the purpose of this gathering of organ transplant recipients and the medical team is to raise awareness of organ donation and disseminate the word far and wide.

MGM Healthcare’s IHLTMCS has performed 600 heart and lung transplants in India, Dr Balakrishnan stated. At the presser, some patients, who had undergone transplant procedures, also shared their experiences.
MGM Healthcare is proud to announce that “we have completed more than 50 heart and lung transplants in patients from Delhi. Each of them was in critical medical conditions with heart or lung failure not responding to medical therapy and were saved through timely transplant surgeries”, the hospital said.

Sharing their experience during the press conference, the family of a six-year-old boy from Jammu, who underwent a successful heart transplant at MGM Healthcare, said he was brought to the hospital last year with cardiomyopathy and body swelling. The boy underwent a successful heart transplant after three weeks of wait and resumed his normal routine in a couple of weeks, the family said.

In another case, a 55-year-old woman from Delhi was diagnosed with interstitial lung disease (ILD). Following the transplant, the patient’s hemodynamics progressively improved, and the tracheostomy tube was removed, allowing her to breathe properly at room temperature, the hospital said.

Dr Apar Jindal, Clinical Director and Consultant, Department of Lung Transplant and Interventional Pulmonology, said, “Lung transplant is advised to people who are suffering from an end stage lung disease. It is critical for every patient to consult with experts in their area and receive the necessary treatment. So, we plan our lung clinics throughout 20 different cities on a regular basis in order to see our patients and assist them with their problems.”

According to Dr Suresh Rao, Co-Director of the IHLTMCS, “Patients with heart or lung failure are at an elevated risk of death and can be helped by timely interventions like heart transplant and lung transplant. Mechanical circulatory supports like ECMO and LVADs can be used as a bridge to transplant in very sick patients.” Dr R Ravi Kumar, Senior Consultant and Associate Clinical Lead, IHLTMCS, said, “The National Organ Transplant Programme (NOTP) has achieved remarkable success. Every year, more than 200 heart patients are given a healthy heart through this technique, saving their lives. There are several patients in India who are in need of quality health opinions and advice, hence we as a team visit most of the major locations in the country frequently to help people benefit from our expertise directly.”

Link: https://www.news9live.com/health/lack-of-awareness-family-members-reluctancy-hampering-organ-donation-in-india-say-experts-2175878

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