Successful organ transplantations from brain-dead girl saves three lives

Published On: March 4, 2023 11:45 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, March 4: The Bhaktapur-based Human Organ Transplant Centre (Martyr Dharma Bhakta National Transplant Centre) has reported the latest successful transplantations of organs extracted from a brain-dead girl. According to the Centre, kidneys and liver extracted from a clinically-dead 17-year-old girl were transplanted to three people.

The girl suffered the clinical death following a road accident last Tuesday. The Centre’s Executive Director Dr Pukar Chandra Shrestha shared information about this with the media by organizing a press meet at the Ministry of Health and Population on Friday.  The successful transplantations were assisted by a medical squad from India.  

The kidneys removed from the girl were transplanted on a 47-year-old male from Mayadevi Rural Municipality-4 in Rupandehi and a 35-year-old male from Siraha Municipality-35 while her liver was transplanted on a 68-year-old male of Lalitpur Metropolis-25.       

“On February 27, news came that a 17-year-old girl who was being treated in a private hospital in Bhaktapur had brain death and the girl's family expressed their desire to donate her organs. We immediately contacted the family. After completing all the medico-legal procedures, we extracted her vital organs,” said Dr Shrestha. “The patients who were waiting for organs were prepared and we started the transplant from the morning of February 28. A team of expert doctors arrived from India on the first flight in the morning to help with the liver transplant."

The Centre recorded the first successful organ transplantations from a clinically dead patient in May, 2017 and since then it has been possible for 13 patients from five brain-dead people.

According to Dr Shrestha, around 1,000 suffer clinical deaths each year in the country while the cases of organ donations are few.  He stressed the need for a proper communication system between the Centre and hospitals and of public awareness to increase the cases of organ donations from clinically-dead people.  "The global data is that 80 percent organ transplantations are based on the cases of clinical deaths."

Similarly, Dr Kalpana Kumari Shrestha, the transplant center's nephrologist and coordinator of the organ transplant coordination unit, said that although the law related to brain death has been passed, the process of organ donation after brain death has not progressed as expected.

Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Population, Dr Roshan Pokharel cited the lack of public awareness for organ donations. "Organ donation from clinically dead people could save the lives of many, but it is not encouraged in Nepal due to the lack of public awareness."

Human organs that are either buried or burned can be donated. From one brain dead person, eight organs i.e. two kidneys, two lungs, one liver, one heart, one pancreas, one small intestine, etc., can be donated. This means that from one brain dead person, eight lives can be saved. In this way, if organs are donated, Nepal can be self-dependent in transplants.

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