No licence renewal if hospitals don’t retrieve organs: Maharashtra govt.

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The Hindu, Mumbai Updated: March 28, 2016 07:42 IST

To bridge the huge demand-supply gap for organs in the state, the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) has issued notices to hospitals that their licences will not be renewed this year if they fail to carry out organ retrievals. Officials said while more hospitals were coming forward to carry out transplant procedures, retrievals hadn’t picked up.

In January, the DHS had even served notices on hospitals making it mandatory for them to declare brain stem deaths. “There are 102 hospitals across the state which can retrieve organs, of which 67 are in Mumbai. But only nine hospitals in Mumbai report brain stem deaths,” said Dr Gauri Rathod, nodal officer, Transplantation of Human Organs Act, DHS.

“There will be no licence renewal (of hospitals) for carrying out transplant procedures until the hospitals report brain stem deaths,” she told The Hindu . Dr Rathod said when hospitals take organs, they should be retrieving them.

Brain stem death, often referred to as brain death, is an irreversible condition where the brain stops functioning totally. It is at this point that the hospital’s ICU staff and the transplant coordinators step in to counsel families on organ donation.

Officials said the notices served on hospitals are part of a bigger exercise to boost cadaver donations given the huge demand for organs and their supply.

“The organs we are getting do not meet even 1-2 per cent of the demand. Take for instance, kidney, for which there are 3,000 people on the waiting list. But we record just about 75 donations annually,” said an official of the Zonal Transplant Coordination Committee (ZTCC).

To give the organ transplant machinery an impetus, the Maharashtra government has come up with the plan to have Non-Transplant Organ Retrieval Centres – wherein hospitals that do not have the wherewithal to do a transplant but have operation theatres and ICUs and meet the required norms can at least retrieve organs. “We have registered 50 such centres so far in Pune, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Nashik and Kolhapur,” said Dr Rathod.

Also, the state is focussing on public facilities such as KEM, Sion and Nair hospitals and JJ to strengthen their infrastructure, to help them undertake more transplant procedures. “The Regional Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (ROTTO) will give money for 15 coordinators in government hospitals and for those private hospitals that are doing more than a certain number of transplants,” said Dr Rathod.

For better coordination between cities in each region, the ROTTO office will come up at KEM Hospital and will act as a nodal agency for Maharashtra, Goa, Chattisgarh and Gujarat. The ZTCC will assist the ROTTO and continue to function as the nodal body for organ donations in Mumbai, said Dr Rathod. The presence of regional nodal body will facilitate better coordination between big and small cities across four states, leading to more people getting organs.

Organ transplant activity has picked up in the state over the last few months, and officials said more hospitals were coming forward to get registered to carry out transplant procedures.

“We have received five applications this month from hospitals to carry out transplants,” said Dr Rathod.

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