Finding a suitable organ donor at the time of crisis is a hassle. So is the procedure of donating the organs of a brain-dead person. Thankfully, Kolkata is bringing in what could be a pan-India trend, by setting up the city’s first centre for coordinating organ transplants.
The Transplant Authority of Tamil Nadu (TRANSTAN) and the Zonal Transplant Coordination Centre (ZTCC), are the nodal agencies for coordinating organ transplants in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra respectively. The organ donation movement in the two states has largely been successful. Hence, the same result is expected when the centre is set up in Kolkata.
The National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) provided the funds for the project. Incidentally, the funds were lying idle with the Regional Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (ROTTO) for two years, due to the absence of a definite mandate.
However, things have changed, and the organ transplant coordination centre will be up and running in the next few months, according to ROTTO head Arpita Ray Chaudhury, in the Times of India.
SSKM Hospital will host the coordination centre, which will operate as an autonomous body, with a secure website, with a comprehensive list of patients who need different organs at various hospitals.
The software will prioritise different prospective recipients according to organ required, age and criticality, medical emergency, and possible cross-tissue match. As soon as a brain-death occurs and the organs are retrieved, the software will allocate the same to the patients in need of a transplant.
Prospective patients will get points assigned, based on various key factors, including age and criticality. Those with maximum points will be on priority for individual organs. A sub-list based on blood groups will also be there.
The software mechanism is simple. If a single deceased organ donation happens at a private hospital, it will get priority, and the software will show the recipient’s name.
Nevertheless, if the hospital finds itself unable to perform the transplant, the software will search the city pool, which will have patients from other hospitals, private and public, for another name.
On the other hand, if a private hospital receives 2 donated kidneys, the hospital will get a chance to carry out one transplant and the other kidney will go to a government hospital. However, if the government hospital fails to carry out the transplant, a private hospital will be allotted the organ.
According to deceased organ donation activist, Commodore VM Swami, this seamless allocation of organs will help in the optimum utilisation of harvested organs. SSKM Hospital declared 21-year-old Deepsikha Samanta brain dead on February 21st. Her kidneys were given to two people, giving them a new lease of life.
However, if the transplant coordination centre was up and running, her liver, intestine, pancreas and heart could also have been used for other patients.
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Arpita Ray Chaudhury is optimistic, and hopes, this new transparency in the organ allocation process, will help both government and private hospitals declare brain deaths, which will, in turn, boost organ donation.
Finding the right match for your loved one is a challenging task, but this central database should help, by matching prospective recipients with the right donor!
Edited by Gayatri Mishra.