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Fortis Healthcare dedicates ‘Wall of Tribute’ to Organ Donors

Date : August 11, 2016

Fortis Healthcare Limited today dedicated a ‘Wall of Tribute’, at the hospital in Anandapur, as a mark of respect to donors and their families who helped save lives almost lost. The initiative is supported by the Fortis Organ Retrieval and Transplant (FORT). The event was flagged off by Dr. Shashi Panja, Hon’ble Minister of State - Health & Family Welfare Department (Govt. of West Bengal), Mr. Samir Singh, Zonal Director, Fortis Healthcare Ltd (East) and Dr. Avnish Seth, Director, Fortis Organ Retrieval & Transplant.

Fortis believes in the cause of organ donation. Fortis Healthcare, Anandapur brings to the City of Joy, the ‘Wall of Tribute’ as an acknowledgment to the magnanimous souls who donated their organs that saved costly lives. The wall mentions the names of the donors along with the dates when their organs were donated. This is a first of its kind initiative by Fortis Healthcare to promote organ donation in the country. Fortis Hospital, Anandapur took this opportunity to pay homage and salute the families of the donors who led the stepping stones for cadaveric organ transplant in West Bengal. Late Sovona Sarkar donated her Kidneys and Corneas, Late Samar Chakraborty donated his Liver and Late Sutapa Basu donated her Corneas.

The donation rate in India was only 0.5 donors per million in 2015. This is far lesser than 30 donors per million in many western countries. However, it is reported that since 2012, the rate of organ donation has improved. The rate is better among southern Indian states as against other Indian states. There is a clear need to create more awareness among people. The ‘Wall’ is erected to generate positive perception towards organ donation.

Mr. Bhavdeep Singh, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Fortis Healthcare Limited said, “This initiative is our humble tribute to the deceased as well as their families who have been so noble as to save the lives of strangers. There is a wide chasm between the increasing demand of organs for people at end stages and the paucity of the same. Adding to the complexity is the lack of awareness, simultaneously surrounded by superstitions which present themselves as the key obstacles. Donating organs is a humanitarian cause that will gain momentum with increasing awareness in society. At Fortis, we will continue to contribute as much as we can by educating people and saving more and more lives. We hope this ‘Wall of Tribute’ inspires all, and reminds us that each one of us has more to give.”

In order to increase awareness on organ donation, steps like inclusion of the topic in school, college and MBBS curriculums, and sustained media campaign, involvement of spiritual leaders and inclusion of best practices in organ donation in the accreditation process for hospitals have been suggested at the national level. The Transplantation of Human Organs Act Amendment 2011 and Transplantation of
Human Organs and Tissues Rules 2014 should be adopted by all states at the earliest. Other actions suggested at the state level include publication of relevant Government Orders to streamline the process of organ donation, availability of organ-pledging facility at the time of making driving license and computerized registry for potential organ recipients. Recommendations at city level include launching awareness drives, sensitization of police for quick clearance in medico-legal donations and establishment of green corridors for rapid transportation of organs. Hospitals should ensure that ‘Declare All, Approach All’ policy is followed for patients with brain death and donor maintenance protocols is implemented by critical care teams.

Dr. Avnish Seth, Director, FORT, – Fortis Organ Retrieval and Transplant said, “The organ donation rate in the country has increased 10-fold over the last 5 years from 0.05 per million population to 0.5 per million. People from all walks of life are increasingly saying yes to donation and we are truly humbled by their kind gesture every time. The country needs to take up organ donation as a priority and we in the medical community have to take the lead. Brain deaths occur in up to 30 percent patients who die of head injury or stroke, but go unrecognized or unreported. Those of us who have tried sincerely for organ donation by introducing Standard Operating Procedures, increasing awareness amongst hospital staff and training transplant coordinators have found an acceptance rate amongst families of over 40%, provided the family is happy with the quality of medical care provided to their loved one. We hope that this initiative helps us bridge the wide gap between demand and supply of organs.”

Talking about the challenges that come in the way of a vibrant organ donation culture in the country, Mr. Samir Singh, Zonal Director, Fortis Healthcare Ltd (East), said, “Transplantations of organs have their own challenges – logistical, social as well as ethical. The number of patients waiting for organs far outnumbers the availability of organs. While organ donation from living individuals is an option for some organs, the main source of organs is donation from the deceased or brain-dead individuals, which depends almost entirely on the consent from family members. And these familial consents are shaped by the religious and cultural considerations that are extremely sensitive. Fortis Healthcare salutes the spirit of the families who have risen above these considerations for the noble cause and are hopeful that their example will encourage many others to explore possibilities of donation of organs of their brain-dead relatives.”

The demand for organ transplant has increases substantially in the recent past. This is largely due to improvement in post-transplant outcome in the medical science. It is now an effective method to cure many terminally ill patients. However, the rate of organ donation has remained a bone of contention that has failed to match huge demand from patients waiting for an organ transplant. In India, less than 15,000 kidney transplants are carried out annually against an estimated requirement of over 2,20,000. Similarly, only 2000 liver transplants are performed every year in a country where over 1,00,000 perish due to end-stage liver disease, mostly related to preventable causes such as hepatitis B and hepatitis C. The annual requirement of hearts is estimated to be around 50,000 and lungs about 20,000.

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