Mumbai doctors discuss the uphill task of how to identify a brain-dead person

In a workshop organised at Fortis Hospital in Mulund, over 120 medical professionals dwelled on how to save an organ donor, how to identify a brain-dead patient and how to follow procedures post the declaration

Mumbai doctors discuss the uphill task of how to identify a brain-dead person

In order to spread awareness about organ donation in the country, over 120 medical professionals attended a symposium, which was held at Fortis Hospital in Mulund on Saturday (May 13), where they discussed about how to save an organ donor.

The day-long workshop was attended by medical social workers, medical coordinators and nurses, who are from the ecosystem of ICUs from Mumbai’s major hospitals participated and were trained during the workshop.

At the event, National Donor Maintenance Guideline by ISCCM (Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine), which focuses on how to identify a brain-dead person and donor optimisation, was also launched.

“As we see a rise in number of patients who need organs to survive, the availability of donors is not sufficient. Currently there are 20,000 to 30,000 organs required in the country such as heart, kidney, liver, but the numbers of donors are 100 or 200 in a year,” said Dr Rahul Pandit, Director Intensive Care, Fortis Hospital, Mulund.

Dr Vimal Bhandari, Director, National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) who was in attendance at the workshop said, “Training and equipping the Intensive Care ecosystem in ‘Brain Death Declaration & Donor Optimization’ will help drive focus towards Organ Donation. With standardised protocol and guidelines being followed by each stakeholder, brain death declaration can be done across medical care centres of all scales.

The aim of the workshop

  • Identifying a brain dead patient

  • Following the standardized protocol once a person declared as brain dead

  • Giving the family the chance to make a decision about donating their kin’s organs, which would save and enrich lived of many others.

This is the first step towards bridging the donor-recipient ratio and will be taking this initiative across the country in the coming months”.

“We need to fulfil the gap between demand and supply for organs. To get organ donors with healthy organs it is important to identify a dead brain person as early as possible. Because this is a way in which we can give new lease of life to many such people suffering from chronic disease,” said Pandit.

When he was asked about the need to spread awareness on identifying brain dead patients among medical professionals in public hospitals, he said, “We need to provide training at public hospitals. There is less participation from this particular sector. From the last two weeks, we have been training doctors from KEM hospital, but we need to do it on a larger scale,” said Pandit.

What does being brain-dead mean?

It is irreversible loss of all functions of the brain, including the brainstem. It is imperative for the Physician to understand the difference between ‘severe brain damage’ and ‘brain death’; as brain death means that life support is futile, and brain death is an absolute principal prerequisite for the donation of organs for transplantation

This workshop was organised by Fortis Organ Retrieval & Transplant (FORT) and Intensivists at Fortis Hospital, Mulund with the support of the National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO).

Also present at the event were Dr Gauri Rathod, Assistant Director, Directorate of Health Services, Maharashtra, Dr Avnish Seth, Director, Fortis Organ Retrieval & Transplant (FORT) and Gastroenterology & Hepatology at Fortis Memorial and Research Institute, Gurgaon, Dr S. K Mathur, Vice-President, Zonal Transplant and Coordination Committee, Mumbai and Senior Liver Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgeon, Dr Sunil Shroff, Founder &d Managing Trustee Mohan Foundation and Senior Urologist, Dr Kapil Zirpe, President Indian Society of Critical Care medicine.