Emphasizing on the need to build awareness and a roadmap to overcome challenges towards Cadaver Donation,Institute of Medicine & Law (IML)today organized a virtual meeting to release a White paper on Organ Donation. The event witnessed an intriguing panel discussion on the recommendations of the White paper that addresses the gaps in the organ donation framework in India.
Experts from various fields included,Dr. Manoj Gumber, Consultant Nephrologist, Apollo Hospitals, Ahmedabad;Dr. Vineet Mishra: Director: Institute of Kidney Disease & Research and Institute of Transplant Sciences;Dr. Sujata Rajapurkar: transplant coordinator and medical social worker with 40 years of experience, Ms. AashkaChudasma – legal expert on medical laws from the University of Melbourne;andMahendrakumar Bajpai, Advocate, Supreme Court of India &Hon. Director, Institute of Medicine & Law.Additionally, Dr. Bhagwat Karad, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha;Mr. Jay Narayan Vyas, Former Cabinet Minister of Government of Gujarat in charge of Health & Family Welfare department;and Justice Sunil Ambwani, Former Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court, and also the Chairperson of the e-committee, Supreme Court of Indiagraced the event as chief guests.
Addressing the medical aspect of the discussion,Dr. Manoj Gumber, Consultant Nephrologist, Apollo Hospitals, Ahmedabad said, “To increase the number of organ donations further, awareness is the key. To achieve this, we need to increase awareness not just amongst general public but also amongst Medical and para medical practitioner.Moreover, it has been observed that fear among doctors about legal issues perhaps is one of the reasons that restrains people from getting involved in organ donation. Hence, an overarching law to protect doctors for actions taken in good faith, similar to the protection provided to judicial officers can help. This will in turn help improve patient- doctor relations which are currently strained.”
Elaborating further Mr. Mahendrakumar Bajpai, Advocate, Supreme Court of India, Editor, Medical Law Cases – For Doctors, Hon. Director, Institute of Medicine & Law said, “The nation today needs a central law on uniform definition of death.Many countries are following the same as per WHO guidelines. The Registration of Birth and Death Act, which is currently in the process of getting amended, should include Brain-stem Death as a form of death. The socio-cultural preferences of the Indian society should be considered while defining the order of surrogate decision makers. The list should be comprehensive, and the order of preference should be clearly laid down. Additionally, to streamline the process a single authority for reporting, compliance and directions should be contemplated.”
“At Donate Life, we have been creating 360-degree awareness of organ donation across cities for the past fifteen years. In my experience as a first step to make India self-sufficient for organ donation, the statutory processes and procedures should be simpler and easily implementable along with appropriate grief counselling. Furthermore, it is important that people understand the importance of organ donations which the only hope is to survive for organ failure patients will benefit the society at large. Hence, we encourage people to become donors,” said Mr. Nilesh Mandlewala, Founder and President of Gujarat-based Donate Life NGO (Gujarat)- Civil Society conveying an important message.
The Whitepaper captures the deliberations of the5th National Convention on Medicine & Law that emphasizes on various aspects of Cadaver Donation, from the challenges faced by doctors (grief counselling, alternative tests), caregivers &patients waiting for an organ to the need for streamlining organ donation and transplantation activities at state & central level. It also sheds light on the legal definition and government’s role in the cadaver donation process.
Additionally, the whitepaper addresses various aspects of organ donation framework such as the need of Simpler laws, fear psychosis among doctors, definitions of death in Indian law, coordination between public and private hospitals, need for more hospitals as organ retrieval centers, procedures governing declaration of brain-stem death, etc.
The event also witnessed patients sharing their journeys from their ordeal of wait to their joy of receiving organ.