State gives Transplant Patients new Hope with Swap Offer
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25 March 2010
To help kidney failure patients who end up waiting for years for a transplant, the state government is promoting a new option — Swap. Swap transplants between two sets of patients and their relatives has gained popularity in the city in the last two years.
The state government has, in fact, written to the Union health ministry stating that swap transplants should be treated on par with living related donors as described in the Organ Transplantation Act of 1994. “In Mumbai, we have already sanctioned over eight swap transplants between couples. The state feels this is a good option for patients who have no match within their families,’’ said Dr Pravin Shingare from the Department of Medical Education and Research (DMER).
He was speaking at the screening of the film, Swap, made by Pune-based filmmaker Yashwant Choughule, that captures the travails of two middleclass housewives coping with kidney failure of their respective husbands. The wives meet at the dialysis centre, strike up a friendship and decide to donate their kidneys to the other’s husbands. “The wives in the film couldn’t donate to their husbands as their blood groups didn’t match,’’ said the filmmaker.
However, Dr Shingare and Dr Sujata Patwardhan, who heads the Zonal Transplantation Coordination Centre, both underlined the need to promote cadaveric transplants. “There is little awareness about the concept of brain death. Relatives fail to understand that their patient whom doctors say is brain dead has a beating heart. They don’t seem to comprehend that his brain stem is dead and his breathing is actually facilitated by a ventilator. This is a period that lasts for two or three days during which solid organs can be retrieved for transplants,’’ they explained.
Meanwhile, Nagpur and Aurangabad will soon get their own ZTCC to coordinate cadaveric tranplants in their city. “Mumbai’s ZTCC module came in for much praise from the union government a couple of years back. In fact, Mumbai ZTCC was asked to train transplant coordiantors in all urban centres,’’ said Dr Shingare.