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Low red-tape helps save lives in TN

A lack of red tape and a mandatory ‘urgent’ tag on every request for an organ to transplant have been the key to the state’s success with organ transplants, since 2008. “In other states, protocol dictates that the surgeon has to present the case before the state’s organ transplant governing committee and then a vote will decide whether the organ is allotted or not.

Published: 19th September 2013 08:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th September 2013 08:07 AM   |  A+A-

emergency

A lack of red tape and a mandatory ‘urgent’ tag on every request for an organ to transplant have been the key to the state’s success with organ transplants, since 2008. “In other states, protocol dictates that the surgeon has to present the case before the state’s organ transplant governing committee and then a vote will decide whether the organ is allotted or not. In the US this situation comes up when a person wants to bypass the waitlist, citing an emergency,” said Dr A Sandeep, a cardiac transplant surgeon who worked in Chennai and recently moved to Delhi. TN’s system is even better.

To illustrate just how effective the Cadaver Transplant Programme and the TN Organ Sharing Network have been, this is a great example: Last Friday, a 7-year-old boy from Coimbatore with a 5-cm wide tumour in his heart, was on the operating table at the Madras Medical Mission, and was inches away from death as doctors realised that the tumour was cancerous. This was at 1 pm. As the clock ticked to 1.30pm, Paediatric Cardiac Surgeon Dr Ejas Ahmed and team decided to take a long shot. They asked the Transplant Committee whether there was a heart available  — normally, the person has to be registered for a heart and the committee has to approve the request after reviewing the case. “All it took was a phone call to the coordinator of the committee,” says Dr Ejas, “And he offered us two hearts.”

With the boy surviving on a heart-lung machine, still on the operating table, the doctors were dismayed that neither heart would work for him, “They were both from 40-year-old men and wouldn’t fit his chest cavity. Also one of the hearts was from Tiruchy so distance was an issue,” he relates. At 2pm, their luck turned. Dr Amalorpavanthan, the committee’s convenor called back and said that there was a 15-year-old boy who had been declared brain dead at Sri Ramachandra University — barely 10km away.

The team that went to harvest the organ had to wait till 7pm because other teams were harvesting the liver and lungs.  “When we finally got the heart, it was 8.30 in the evening. The boy had been on the machine for too long, so we began the transplant immediately,” he says. With no little trepidation, they waited after transplanting the heart and at 11.30pm, a faint beat emanated from the kid’s new heart, “It began beating with a steady rhythm and within 12 hours, we took him off the machine,” adds Dr Ejas happily. Organ transplants are approved seamlessly because only a few reputed hospitals are licensed to handle transplants.

“Each organ is tracked and field reports and counsellor reports are duly filed,” Dr J Amalorpavanthan had told City Express earlier.

The other members of the team included Dr Sujatha, Dr Benjamin Ninan, Dr Sylvester, Dr Selvakumar and Dr Uday Murmuru.



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