18 June 2012
PUNE: The first ever 'Skin Bank' in the city, launched at Surya Hospital, is awaiting more skin donors. This is because the number of burn patients is increasing and there is an urgent need for 'skin' as a natural dressing.
Due to a lack of awareness on cadaveric skin donation, the skin bank has received only eleven donations over the past four months since its launch. With the hope of saving lives of burn patients, the skin bank was inaugurated in February. It is an initiative of the Rotary Club of Khadki under the guidance of the National Burns Centre, Vashi with technical support from a Netherlands-based Euro Skin Bank. The non-profit organisation 'Samavedana' and Sahyadri Hospital have supported the venture.
Speaking about the response from the society, Surya Hospital chief administrator Mahesh Kulkarni told Sakal Times that nine donors had come forward within the first month of the launch after doctors themselves spread the word. “There are misconceptions about skin bank and skin donation among the masses. We receive a number of calls on the helpline with callers wanting to know how to donate skin, what is the procedure, would it affect the religious beliefs, is it related to plastic surgery, and so on,” he said.
Out of the eleven donors, most are elderly and the skin collected on one of the occasions had to be discarded due to infection. Explaining the significance of skin donation, Dr Jaysingh Shinde said, “In case of 40-50 per cent burn cases, chances of survival are slim due to infections and protein loss. In such cases, there is a major expenditure on pharmaceuticals, antibiotics and infection control and hospitalisation. Skin graft using artificial skin is not affordable. In such cases, skin graft using skin from the skin bank, is the best option to prevent infection. It minimises hospitalisation of the patient and helps in speedy recovery of the critical burns patients.” The Samvedana members and the skin bank team have appealed to the society to come forward for this noble cause.