Tireless efforts of Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti are ushering in a silent revolution in the field of organ and body donation
Ravi Das, a talented boy from an ordinary family of Shakupur in North Delhi, received severe injuries in a road accident. After battling with death at Maharaja Agrasen Hospital for several days he succumbed to his injuries. Doctors declared him brain dead. On persuasion, his family members agreed to donate his body organs for the benefit of the needy patients. With the help of Delhi Police which ensured a green corridor up to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) his body was shifted and finally Ravi, after his death, gifted new life to five persons. His heart was transplanted to a 13-year old girl, a kidney to a patient in AIIMS and another kidney to a patient in Maharaja Agrasen Hospital. His liver was transplanted to a patient at ILBS and an eye to another patient. Now, Ravi survives through five different human bodies.
Preparing a family, which has lost a young boy, for organ donation is indeed a difficult task. But thanks to the sincere efforts of Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti (DDDS) workers, the family of Ravi Das agreed and five persons could get a new lease of life. This is not the first incident of organ donation facilitated by the DDDS, it has, since 1997 when it was formed, ensured 179 body donations, 526 pairs of eye donation, organ donations of four brain dead patients, three bone donation and one skin donation. Not only this, over 8000 people have pledged for body and eye donation after their death through the DDDS.
Unavailability of Organs
No doubt, when we look at the long list of the patients waiting in different hospitals of the country for organs transplantation, this contribution of DDDS is very small. About 500,000 people die every year in India due to unavailability of organs that can be transplanted. Of them, 200,000 suffer from liver diseases and 50,000 from cardiovascular diseases. In addition, approximately 150,000 people await kidney transplantation. There is one more dimension of the problem. Nearly, 1.5 lakh people were killed in road accidents in 2016 alone as compared to 1.46 lakh in 2015. The number of deaths due to other reasons is different. If we motivate people for organ donation, perhaps none will die in India due to organ failure.
It is because of the poor level of awareness among people about organ donation that large-scale organ trafficking takes place. “If we really want to curb trafficking of human body organs or illegal organ transplantation, people should voluntarily come forward for organ donation. Ours is a land of great body donors like sage Dadhichi. We have to carry forward that tradition. It is high time the well-to-do people of the society should come forward for organ and body donation so that others should also follow them,” says Shri Alok Kumar, founder of the Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti.
Applause from the President of India
The unique service to the mankind by DDDS received applause from the President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind on November 10 when he addressed this year’s ‘Deh Daniyon Ka Utsav’ at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Shri Kovind appealed to the doctors, educational institutions, teachers and religious leaders to spread awareness about body and organ donation. He said due to poverty some people may be compelled to sell their body organs, it is unacceptable. If we institute a culture of voluntary donation, then the illegal market will gradually come to an end. “It is high time we treat the entire society and the country as our family and pledge to selflessly donate our body organs keeping in view the requirements of every accident victim, sick or handicapped person. This will be an inspiring step in the service of humanity,” the President added.
The President further stressed the need to apprise the people of the process of organ donation in the simplest manner. By clearing their doubts we should sensitise them. “Body or organ donation is true to the ethos of our ancient civilisation. It is believed that Maharishi Dadhichi had donated his body so that the Gods could make a weapon from his bones and defeat the forces of evil. The thought that in our lifetime, or even after death, our body or body organs could be useful to or help treat another person is both humanistic and inspiring,” the President added.
A book, Body-Organ Donation: Towards a Healthy Society, published by Prabhat Prakashan and written by senior journalist Shri Arun Anand was released by Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region Dr Jitendra Singh. First copy of the book was received by the President at the function.
Changing the Mindset
The function organised at Rashtrapati Bhavan was indeed unique, touching and inspiring. Apart from one Suraj Gupta, the father of a seven-day child whose body was donated to AIIMS and Smt Keerti Parashar who has dedicated her life for motivating people for organ donation after she received heart transplantation in 2012, Smt Kiran Chopra of Punjab Kesari Group was also present on the occasion. Smt Chopra appreciated the cause of organ and body donation, but she candidly admitted that she did not have the courage to pledge for body donation. After the speech of Smt Chopra, a person who had donated the organs of his wife after brain dead shared his experience. Then Smt Keerti Parashar shared her experience. After heart transplantation she has formed an organisation, Organ India, and motivates people all over the country for organ donation. After Smt Parashar’s experience Smt Kiran Chopra stood from her seat and said: “I was praying God to bless me with the courage, which I did not have. After hearing the experience of both these persons, all my doubts are over and I believe it is a good work. Hence, I pledge that I will donate my body after my death.” This change in mindset is the biggest challenge today. If it is done, no one will really die in the country following organ/tissue failure.
The story of seven-day child’s father Shri Suraj Gupta is also very touching. The day the child was born, doctors informed the family about trouble in his heart. The child was shifted to the AIIMS for specialised treatment where the doctors performed open heart surgery on seventh day of his birth. The surgery lasted for six hours, but was not successful. The child passed away the same day. But the family while taking a bold decision decided to donate his body to the Medical College at AIIMS.
Taking such a decision by the family indeed requires much courage. But the Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti volunteers are active round the clock to motivate people in this regard and render help anytime, anywhere one wants. They are the change agents who are causing a silent revolution in the field of organ donation in the country.