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Times of India
23 September 2010
Chennai, India

The government’s decision to boost organ donation by relaxing rules for portmortem was announced on Wednesday. The state health department has now waived off postmortems for road accident victims whose relatives are willing to donate the organs of their deceased kin in case of brain death.

Road Accident Victims Whose Organs Are Donated Need Not Undergo Autopsy
Even if the police want to go in for a postmortem, forensic experts can authorise the organ retrieval and conduct the postmortem at any authorised transplant centre. It can be done by a medical officer at a government college or doctors with experience in conducting postmortems.

The order dated September 14, which follows a series of orders issued by the department of health and family welfare to boost cadaver transplant, says that when a brain death is suspected, doctors shall conduct a brain stem death test.

After seeking consent from the relatives, the doctors will inform the police and the investigating officer will visit the hospital. After this, the second brain stem death test will be conducted. The investigating officer is given the intimation of death, after which he decides whether to opt for a postmortem. If the postmortem is not required, the organs will be harvested.

Otherwise, the forensic expert shall authorise the organ retrieval and conduct the postmortem at a transplant centre. After the postmortem, the body will be handed over to the police to be given to the family. "We hope to increase the number organ donations through this," said organ donation co-ordinator Dr J Amalorpavanathan.

While forensic experts in government hospitals were happy that the number of postmortems, in cases where there was clear evidence of accidents, will reduce, they were sceptical about visiting hospitals to do postmortems. "Many hospitals don’t have forensic experts. We might have to go there to do the postmortem, which may not be easy," a doctor said.

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