Between Mumbai and Chennai’s first lung transplant, a huge gap
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The recent lung transplant on 41-year-old Jayashree Mehta is the city's first and comes over a decade after the first lung transplant in the country in Tamil Nadu capital Chennai in 1999. Tamil Nadu has gone far ahead after that as far as cadaveric organ donation is concerned. Maharashtra is far behind.
Since the first lung transplant, Tamil Nadu has seen around 1.3 million cadaveric donations which the rest of the country aspires to reach in the next two years. Doctors in Mumbai admit that many in queue for a transplant here eventually move south.
"On paper, there is nothing particularly different Tamil Nadu is doing. What makes the Tamil Nadu model successful is the impeccable co-ordination between ICUs, hospitals and public there. In Maharashtra, we have the infrastructure but need better implementation," said Dr Gustad Davar, president of the Zonal Transplant Transplant Co-ordination Centre, Mumbai (ZTCC).
ZTCC, which co-ordinates organ transplant procedures in the city recorded 251 kidney and 36 liver donations in 13 years, from March 1997 to January 2012.
In contrast, Tamil Nadu recorded over 650 organ donations in just three years from 2008 to 2012. Active participation of the Tamil Nadu government in making organ transplantation smoother is another factor that contributed to its success.
"The TN government has greatly helped in pushing the cause of organ donation. There is a transplant co-ordinator in every hospital. Most importantly, it is public awareness that has helped the most. People are more willing to come forward for the cause," said Dr T Sunder, senior consulting cardiothoracic surgeon at Apollo Hospital, Chennai.
Doctors in Mumbai said poor awareness levels, besides unwillingness of the family of the deceased are hurdles in cadaveric organ donation.
"There are many myths and superstitions that come into play at the time of organ donation. Patients' kin also fear mutilation of the donor's body. Awareness even among the educated is poor. This must change," said Dr Sunil Keswani of the National Institute of Burns, Airoli.
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