Mumbai: Deceased 66-year-old woman donates skin tissue and bones

The woman and her family have set an exemplary example by donating her tissue and bones. For Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), which houses the India’s oldest and Mumbai’s lone tissue bank, it was only the third such donation since 2016

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In a reassuring example of organ donation, the kin of a 66-year-old woman have donated her skin and bones. They have also donated her corneas.

Kalaichelvi Jawahar passed away at Apollo Hospital in Navi Mumbai on Thursday, September 20. Her husband told the doctors about her desire to donate her eyes.

Soon after the family’s consent was received, an orthopaedic surgeon retrieved the iliac crest, which is the upper portion of the hip bone, and a few ribs.

The bones were sent to the Tata Memorial Hospital’s tissue bank. Her corneas were sent to Laxmi Eye Bank in Navi Mumbai, and the skin went to Masina Hospital in Byculla.

Donated bones are highly helpful for patients who have their bones removed due to cancers, infections or injuries.

Selvakumar Jawahar, the son of the deceased woman, said, “It was my mother’s life-long wish to donate organs after she passed away. She had decided about this even before she fell ill. At the hospital, the counsellor told us that since my mother did not pass away due to brain death, we could not donate all her organs.”

He added, “We were told in such cases we could only donate her eyes, skin and bones. While we knew about eye donation, we did not know what would happen during skin and bone donation. The counsellor sat us down and explained us the concept of skin and bone donation in a simplified way. We were convinced that this will be beneficial to people. So we gave our consent to donate these organs.”

While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Jigisha Yadav, a counsellor working with Mohan Foundation, which is an NGO that works towards raising awareness on organ donation said, “The patient was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday, September 12. She was suffering from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), which is a chronic lung disease. She passed away on Thursday, September 20. The relatives of the deceased told us that they wanted to donate her eyes and other organs. We counselled them and told them that her eyes could be donated, but, since she is brain-dead, she cannot donate other organs apart from here skin, skin tissue and bones. The family had certain doubts regarding skin donation, they asked us whether all her skin would be removed, how she would look after the procedure. We did our best to clear all their doubts.”

She added, “We co-ordinate with a few hospital for this. Her skin was donated to Masina Hospital in Byculla. While her corneas were sent to Laxmi Eye Bank in Panvel, Navi Mumbai. Her bones were sent to Tata Memorial Hospital. There were two bone donations in 2016, Kalaichelvi Jawahar bone donation marked the third overall and it was the first bone donation of 2018. There were no bone donations last year.”

She explained, “While there is some awareness about organ donation, there is little or no awareness about skin, skin tissue and bone donation. We had recently counselled five people about skin and bone donation. Three of them consented to donate their loved ones skin and bones this included Jawahar’s family. While two people refused, as they were still unclear about it. That is why it is of utmost importance to spread a word about skin and bone donation.”