April 12, 2024

Indian hospital’s innovative drive for organs

Cadaver maintenance programme

A hospital in Chennai is marketing an innovative program for increasing the supply of organs – a “cadaver maintenance programme”. Indians are notoriously reluctant to allow the organs of family members to be donated. Part of the reason is that they do not believe that “brain death” is truly death.

So Stanley Hospital, a leading medical centre in Tamil Nadu, has set up a five bed unit with state-of-the-art medical equipment. There brain-dead patients are kept breathing artificially until their relatives come to accept that they are well and truly dead. Dr R. Surendran admits that relatives are not the only ones who are confused. “Even medical officers are not aware of what brain death is about,” he told The Hindu newspaper.

The hospital plans to recruit brain-dead patients from hospitals around Chennai. It will do at least two tests on them to prove to the relatives that the loved-one is truly dead. Grief counsellors will give them advice. The organs which become available will be allocated preferentially to patients in Stanley Hospital. ~ The Hindu, Nov 14

Michael Cook