Navratri Special: Educating police about organ donation is the need to hour

We all know that one brain-dead donor can save eight innocent lives. But, there are many unsung heroes who spend countless nights anxiously, just to save a life. The life of an organ transplant coordinator is not an easy one, as their work is not an easy task

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Today, My Medical Mantra brings you the story of Dr Sabeena Shaikh, an organ transplant coordinator and Assistant Director Medical Administration, who works at Saifee Hospital in Mumbai. She has been instrumental behind saving the lives of hundreds of people

Counselling the family of a brain-dead patient, and convincing them to donate organs, is the toughest part of the job of an organ transplant coordinator. My Medical Mantra spoke to Dr Shaikh and asked her about her experience of working in this field.

Dr Shaikh says, “I have been working in this field for the past nine years now. And, every case is a learning process for me. The most challenging part is to speak to the grieving family and obtain their consent for organ donation. It is really a tough job, but, to save an innocent life, we have to make them aware of the importance of the process of organ donation.”

Since 2010, Dr Sabeena has been working as an organ transplant coordinator at Mumbai’s Saifee Hospital.

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She added, “Earlier, people didn’t know much about the concept of organ donation. But, now awareness is spreading among the masses. When we explain to the family, how organ donation can save up to eight lives, they come forward and give consent to donate organs.”

Dr Shaikh wished to share an incident which left an imprint on my mind, as it showed true humanity in the heart of a mother. Dr Shaikh narrated the incident, saying, “An 18-year-old boy had met with an accident, and was declared brain-dead by doctors. But, his mother came forward and gave consent to donate his organs, just to save an unknown person. Her selfless decision saves many lives on that day.”

The organ donation process is a difficult task, as it requires a lot of paperwork. While sharing her experience with My Medical Mantra, Dr Sabeena says, “We need to inform and educate the police department about the process of organ donation. The police administration doesn’t know what cadaver donation is. Owing to which, we face a lot of difficulties while completing the process. At times, the family of an organ donor has to wait in the police station for long, and ultimately the family refuses for donation. So, educating the police department is the need of the hour.”

Due to the sustained and ceaseless efforts of the government and the NGO’s, Maharashtra is currently in the second position just behind Tamil Nadu in the number of cadaver organ donations in the country.

Dr Sabeena further stated, “There are a lot of myths associated with organ donation. Organs have no religion. Humanity is the only religion, which people need to understand.”

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The life of an organ transplant coordinator is never going to be easy. They have to spend sleepless nights waiting for an answer. It puts your patience to test. But Dr Shaikh adds, “Yes! It is stressful. We need to work with a very cool head. If a family is not aware, we need to explain to them about the process and its importance. The process takes time, so, we have to spend days together in the hospital, till the process is complete. It’s a team effort. We all work hard, with an aim to save a life.”