My 86 year old father, Shri M.V. Joshi, always led a healthy lifestyle. On 20th Oct’2013, Sunday Evening, he suffered a cardiac arrest at home in Delhi. He was rushed to the nearest hospital ( Private ) where his heartbeats were revived after a few minutes. Since then he is on ventilator. The Doctors attending tell us that the ‘Brain’ did not get oxygenated blood supply during the time the heart stopped which is why, it is not showing any activity. However, the other organs are working satisfactorily.
Whatever! This is certainly not a dignified end for someone who always yearned for a “clean dispatch” from the world! And yet this is the price he has to pay for pledging to donate as many organs as possible for the needy. And for this, my father had even registered himself with Organ Retrieval Banking Organization (ORBO), which is a part of AIIMS, some years ago. His Registration No. being 1207.
Considering the possibility that the Brain may not respond and subsequently may be declared Brain-Dead, my brother contacted ORBO on Tuesday 22nd Oct.’13, by sending detailed e-mail at the address mentioned in their web-site and also telephonically, the organization showed total disinterest stating that my father is above 80 years & hence none of his organs will be of any use. At the most, the cornea can be retrieved and for this we can get in touch with them even after the body is brought home.
Not even a brief explanation was given as to how being 86 years old disqualifies him from being a donor, when the web-site www.aiims.edu/aiims/orbo clearly mentions that anybody above 18 years can donate organs regardless of age, gender, etc. I hereby quote some of the points mentioned in their website-
· There is scarcity of organs and donors.
· A small part of pancreas can help a diabetic
· A small section of Liver is capable of regenerating
· One kidney can help sustain a life.
· Skin can be transplanted for severe burns cases.
The detailed e-mail sent to email@example.com , an address mentioned in web-site, is “undelivered” due to site-error. Upon Google search of www.orbo.org , I found that the domain name is for sale.
In the e-mail & also during telephonic talk, my brother mentioned the names of attending Doctors and Hospital. But ORBO is not interested to contact the Doctor or Hospital / send somebody to check the Donor for suitability / help us & Doctors through the legal procedure. Instead, the onus has been put on us, that we get the Donor declared Brain-Dead by getting the private hospital to assemble teams of Specialists Doctors ,conduct required tests and declare him Brain-Dead. Only after that we should contact ORBO.
Even if we assume that the organs offered for transplant have well passed the required age and if at all may serve for short duration only, how can we overlook the scarcity of organs / waiting lists with AIIMs and Govt. Hospital? Surely, there will be some ready takers as they are being offered FREE OF COST by the source.
Why then this rejection / reluctance by ORBO? We are sure that his “aged” organs could help a person for a few years. Besides, there is always a chance that the organs may adapt to younger bodies!
A private hospital may lack the motivation to undertake the legal procedures / resources for organ retrieval but ORBO has the necessary trained and experienced staff as also the resources for this cause. It is a common knowledge that time is an important element in such cases, as the patient’s heart may stop again and not revive at all. This would not only mean that whatever available is lost – not only the organs but also the last wish of the man who wished to contribute even after his death.
This is truly a sad happening for India.