It is probably the most difficult decision to make, but the people of Tamil Nadu have set an example for the rest of the country to follow. The state has recorded a stunning 80 per cent ‘conversion rate’, coming out as the most generous in the world, when it comes to donating a loved ones’ organs.
“By ‘conversion rate’ we mean that 80 per cent of families approached by our grief counsellors, agreed to pull the plug and donate their loved ones’ organs. Even in developed countries like USA where nearly everyone pledges their organs on their drivers’ license, only 50 per cent of families can be convinced to donate organs,” explains Dr Sunil Shroff, managing trustee of Mohan foundation.
There have been 268 organ donors from Tamil Nadu since the program began in 2008 — 52 hearts, 6 lungs, 239 livers and 487 kidneys have been harvested from brain dead accident victims and given to terminally ill people. In addition, there were hundreds of tissues like heart valves, corneas and skin that were retrieved.
Thanks to a motivated network of doctors who declare the brain death, intensivists who maintain the cadaver on life support and transplant co-ordinators who convince the bereaved families and guide them through the load of paperwork required for the consent, the state has a record cadaver organ donation rate of 1.3 million per population, which is 15 times the national average.
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