On December 21, 2016 the 3rd session for the "Angels of Change- Volunteers for Organ Donation" was conducted for students of Bal Bharti Public School. In this session, they interacted with a donor family, a liver recipient and a kidney recipient. The objective of the session was to provide an opportunity to the volunteers to understand the real feelings of a donor family as they take this very difficult decision to donate a loved one's organs; and also of people living with end stage organ failure awaiting a transplant and how their lives change once they have received the gift of a lifesaving organ.
The session started with Dr. Muneet Kaur Sahi, Programme Manager, Delhi - NCR, giving the students basic information on National Organ Tissue and Transplantation Organization (NOTTO), state registries, construction of a brain death committee, organ pledging and significance of a Donor Card. This session was useful to help students understand that NOTTO is the apex government body that regulates procedures with regards to organ donation in the country. The students were told how state is a health subject i.e. even though an Act regarding organ transplantation is enacted by the centre, each state has to implement the same. This also results in each state having their own registries of patients waiting to receive an organ and of the number of cadaver donations carried out in their respective state. Dr. Muneet also told that a brain death committee in a hospital involves four doctors in the panel: Registered Medical Practioner (RMP) In-charge of the Hospital in which BSD has occurred, RMP physician or surgeon of the Hospital, Neurologist/ Neurosurgeon or Intensivist and RMP physician treating the patient. She also explained that one can become organ donor by signing a pledge form, Form no.-7, in the presence of two witnesses out of which one should be a family member. Thereafter a 'Donor Card' is issued. Dr. Muneet clarified though a donor card is not a legal document and only shows willingness to donate organs after death and possessing the same will facilitate family members to take the final decision for organ donation. The session focused on equipping the students with basic knowledge about the procedures, thus preparing them to answer questions from public during sessions.
Mr. Santosh Kumar Kaushal, father of Sushant Kaushal whose organs he had donated interacted with the students on how he decided to take this brave decision. Sushant was 20 years old when he was declared brain dead. Organs harvested from him gave life to seven, one of them a young engineer like the donor. This recipient got a rare intestinal transplant. Sushant's kidneys, liver, heart, corneas and small intestine were transplanted to save other lives. Another recipient at AIIMS got his heart. Mr. Kaushal shared that his experience of working in the hospital had equipped him with necessary knowledge on brain death and was aware that his son wouldn't come back to life. He took the decision of donating his organs even though he was asked by his family to wait for a miracle to happen. Mr. Kaushal shared even when he lost his wife to cancer he had requested the doctor to retrieve any organs if possible. On asking he views on 'incentives for donor families' , Mr. Kaushal replied that organ donation is a donation, if one starts giving incentives for the same then it will not be any different from selling the organs.
Mr. Suresh Anand, a liver recipient and Ms. Seema, a kidney recipient also shared with the students. Mr. Anand's daughter donated a part of her liver to him, while Seema had received the kidney from the mother. They shared the problems they faced as patients suffering from end stage organ failure. They were able to explain the basic technicalities involved in each transplant. Students had many queries and the recipients were very happy to answer all of them. Both Suresh and Seema embodied a positive and healthy life one can live post transplants. They thoroughly supported the cause of organ donation and shared how difficult it is to accept an organ from a living relative and how receiving an organ from a deceased donor is the best solution.
Students were very moved to meet these real life heroes. With this session the students were able to have better clarity on the subject which would help them to prepare for their individual presentation to MOHAN Foundation in the upcoming session.