Organ donation: ‘We have to answer all questions properly and leave no room for doubt’

They have to be alert at all times; the nature of their job requires complete dedication and commitment from them. As it is not just a job, but a mission to save lives. They have to keep their emotions in check and maintain composure while dealing with relatives of a patient. An organ transplant coordinator has many roles to fulfil, such as a counsellor and a life-saver

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For them, every day poses a new challenge. They know their task is not so easy, but they do not let difficult moments get the better of them.

“Sleepless nights are a part of my job. When a phone rings at midnight, I have only one thing on my mind, to rush to the hospital anyhow. This is merely not a job for me, I am happy, that we can help save an innocent life,” said, Dr Ashwini Choudhary, an organ transplant coordinator.

Since the past two years, Dr Ashwini has been working at Nagpur’s New Era hospital as an organ transplant coordinator.

Organ donation is a process, through which organs of a living or a brain-dead are removed and transplanted into another person. But, this happens only after a due procedure is followed according to the law. And, the person whose briefs the family about the process is an organ transplant coordinator.

While speaking to My Medical Mantra, she informed, “I am a doctor myself. But, when the situation comes, where you have to convince a family of a brain-dead patient, I feel tremendous mental pressure. The family may not listen to you every time. Sometimes, I feel they will march towards me and attack. Hence to handle the situation we have to be very patient.”

Dr Choudhary says, while convincing the relatives, we have to remain composed and be strong. Mental strength plays a pivotal role in counselling.

She says every day is a different one and a different experience. Since 2017, Dr Ashwini has counselled 40 families from Nagpur and Vidharbha region.

“Over the past two years, I have realised that people from rural parts of the state, are more open about the concept and they are willing when it comes to donate organs compared to people living in urban areas. As an organ transplant coordinator, we have to make sure that all questions raised by the family members are answered properly. We can’t allow any misconception to cloud their judgement,” added Dr Ashwini.

As an organ transplant coordinator, Dr Ashwini witnesses a lot of scenarios unfold at the hospital. There are some incidents which remain embedded in their memory. Dr Ashwini shares one such moment with us.

“It is always difficult to counsel the relatives of a small child. I will never forget the day, when a six-year-old girl, who had met with an accident, was admitted to the hospital. When I met the family, I too had tears in my eyes. And, in a situation like this counselling becomes a very tough task,” said Dr Choudhary.