Organs of minor declared brain dead give new lease of life to 2 children

The parents of the child admitted to AIIMS Trauma Centre after suffering a severe head injury in a road accident on April 15 gave consent to donate the minor's organs following counselling.

New Delhi: The family of a nine-year-old boy who was declared brain dead at AIIMS, Delhi following a head injury donated his organs giving a new lease of life to two children.

The parents of the child admitted to AIIMS Trauma Centre after suffering a severe head injury in a road accident on April 15 gave consent to donate the minor’s organs following counselling.

The minor passed away on April 21.

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This is the fifth paediatric donation (in the 1-6 years of age group) amongst 19 donations to have taken place at JPN apex trauma centre, AIIMS, here since last April.

Children are a very special group and need targeted approaches for brain death certification, maintenance of donor organs after brain death, subsequent organ retrievals and transplantations, Dr Deepak Gupta, Professor of Neurosurgery at AIIMS, Delhi.

There is a large unmet need for organs by children suffering from end-stage diseases of the kidney, liver and heart across India and training of doctors in transplants in children needs to be reinforced at regular intervals.

“Incidentally, 6 year old Master S was born with only one kidney (as was confirmed on CT and USG abdomen) and hence only one kidney was retrieved to be transplanted to another boy at AIIMS Delhi, while liver was transplanted at ILBS to another 16-year-old boy in Delhi as per allocation by NOTTO,” Dr Gupta said.

National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation is an organisation set up under the Directorate General of Health Services of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Both corneas retrieved by the RP Centre Eye bank team will be used to give new vision to patients in need at AIIMS in subsequent days, he said, adding that heart valves were also retrieved for later usage.

However, the heart and lungs were not found to be suitable for transplantation by a team of experts from NOTTO.

The entire process of brain death certification, donor organ management and counselling for consent and further retrievals was coordinated by a team of doctors, paramedic support staff from the Organ Procurement team (OPT), Organ retrieval banking organisation (ORBO) of AIIMS, transplant team of doctors and support staff from the hospital, said Dr Aarti Vij, Head of ORBO at AIIMS said.

Talking about the challenges involving organ donations from very young donors, Dr Gupta said the Biggest myth amongst many is that organ donations can be done only between the 18-60 years of age group.

Organs can be harvested for donations after a patient has been declared brain dead irrespective of age. For a patient, a set of 2 tests by a team of 4 doctors are conducted 6 hours apart in adults and 12 hours apart in children, giving new life to an average of 8 patients after due informed consent by relatives of the patient.

“It is true that many neonatal donors are too small to recover organs for transplantation (especially those younger than a year), finding suitable recipients in such young donors can be a challenge too. Donations and subsequent successful transplantations have been reported from India even in children younger than 1 year of age,” he said.

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