14 October 2010
It was a moving scene at the Government General Hospital in the wee hours of Wednesday when the father of a 20–year–old man was told that his son was brain dead. The father did not understand Tamil or English, so a grade IV employee of the hospital, who spoke Telugu, was called in to convey the news as well as speak to the family about organ donation. The father signed on the dotted line.
Once the family signed the papers, the cadaver registry was alerted. "We networked with the hospitals. We harvested his kidneys, liver, lung, heart and eyes," said a senior doctor at the Government General Hospital. The kidneys were shared by the Stanley Medical College Hospital and the Government General Hospital, the liver was harvested by the transplant team in Stanley Hospital and the eyes went to the government opthalmic hospital in Egmore.
The lung and the heart were harvested by two teams at the Frontier Lifeline. While the heart was given to an Indian, the lung went to a 67–year–old Japanese. The Japanese, who suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, was pushed up the hospital waitlist as his condition deteriorated, hospital sources said. "This is the first time we are transplanting two different organs to two patients at the same time," a doctor said.
The GH conducted a postmortem and handed over the body of Thimothi to his family later in the day. The organs were taken to the respective hospitals for transplant through the ‘green corridor’ opened by the traffic police for faster transportation.
Till August 31, the state has harvested organs from 124 brain dead patients in the past two years. In the last few months Americans, Japanese and Iranians have been given organs from the cadaver pool. "We normally ensure that the first choice is given to people in the state. If there is none, we offer them to the neighbouring states and across the country. We offer them to foreigners only if there are no Indian patients," said Dr J Amalorpavanathan, coordinator of the state cadaver organ transplant registry.