Today we introduce you to Sujata Ashtekar who has worked in this field since the last 19 years. And with each case of cadaver donations, she has to ensure that no mistakes are made. The entire team associated with the work of organ donation has to work with precision and remain coordinated with each other in order to save precious lives.
While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Sujata informed, “Organ donation is a lengthy process, we all have to be responsible that no mistakes are made during this entire process. As soon as we receive information about a brain-dead person, all units and teams have to become alert and begin their work.”
She added, “It is not the sole responsibility of a person, it’s a united effort of a team. Due to our teamwork, a waitlisted person gets a second chance to live.”
In the last 14 years, Sujata Ashtekar has played an important role in the field of organ donation and organ transplant.
She started her journey in the year 1997 as a Medical Social Worker (MSW) at Jaslok Hospital. She began to work as a ZTCC coordinator in the same hospital in 2000.
She further said, “We can retrieve several organs from the body of the cadaver, this is known as multi-organ transplant. But for this transplant to be carried out a special team of doctors need to be called in from Chennai to Mumbai. This is a time-consuming process. And due to this, relatives eventually decide not to donate organs.”
“To solve this problem, we need to form a team of specialist doctors. This will help save time and the work will be carried out in a more effective manner,” she explained.
She further stated that 20 years ago, there was a lack of awareness among people. But the scenario has now changed and people are more aware and coming forward themselves to donate organs. This has been possible due to the on-going measure being taken to spread awareness.
Sujata informed, “Before working at Jaslok Hospital, I was unaware of the concept of cadaver donation. When I began to work as a ZTCC coordinator in 2000, I came to know that the organs of a brain-dead person can be donated.”
There is an awareness which is being created among people. There is a short time frame within which a brain-dead person organs can be donated. If this is done, the lives of people who are waitlisted for an organ transplant can be saved.
Sujata also spoke about the myths and misconceptions that people have in their minds regarding organ donation. She said, “People believe that if organs are retrieved from the brain-dead person’s body, then the body will become disfigured. Due to this many relatives refuse to donate organs. But now, due to better awareness relatives are willing to donate the organs of their loved ones.”
Many people think that ZTCC coordinators only counsel the relatives of a brain-dead patient. But there are many other duties which they have to carry out. They have to keep a record of the organs which are being sent to different hospitals and also choose the hospital where a waitlisted person is admitted at. They also have to keep a record of which person has become an organ recipient.
This entire process is not the responsibility of just one person, but a collective effort of the team. To help give a new life to a person.
She further said, “We have to see which patient in Mumbai or Maharashtra is need of an organ transplant. We have a Whatsapp group which includes coordinators from all the hospitals. If a person is not in need of an organ in Mumbai, then we check if anyone requires an organ in the state. And if no one in Maharashtra fits the criteria then we send the organ to a patient who resides in another state and is in urgent need of an organ transplant.”