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Cadaveric donors can curb illegal trade


Prathibha Parameswaran,CNN-IBN
Feb 14, 2008 at 05:37pm IST

Chennai: The National Network for Organ Sharing (NNOS), a non-governmental organization based out of Chennai says cadaveric transplants may be the best legal option.

"I was under dialysis, then the doctor told me that you've to get transplant done-and only if I get a transplant you'll survive-otherwise you'll be on dialysis forever," P Leelavathy, a kidney recipient, says.

Leelavathi was diagnosed with a renal infection -- that is, an infection in her kidneys -- in 2004.

Soon her both kidneys stopped functioning and she had to be treated through dialysis.

But doctors told her that it wasn't enough and that she wouldn't survive if she didn't get a kidney transplant.

The wait lasted two and half years and it was only last August that she received a kidney from a cadaveric donor.

"If someone had given me an illegally procured organ, I'd have been filled with guilt all my life-that someone's kidney was stolen for me. But this was done so transparently-the doctor said they'd used the kidney from an accident victim," Leelavathy says.

And that is the message that organisations like the National Network for Organ Sharing have been trying to spread.

They say that there are other ways to source organs than by illegal means or from living relatives.

Almost all organs can be taken from cadaveric donors -- those people who sustain severe brain injuries due to accidents, falls, a stroke, those who drown, or even those who suffer hear attacks.

"Assume that we've the same kind of system and donation that happen in the US. We should essentially have some 34,000 donors per year and if you look at kidneys. There are 17,000 donors while 34,000 transplants are being done," Dr. Mohan Thanikachalam, Medical Director, NNOS says.

At present only 0.03 percent of patients who need them actually receive cadaveric transplants in India and this is because of the lack of an efficient network.

One of the major reasons why people go for illegally procured organs is their lack of availability through legal means.

And networks such as NNOS, which work with donors and recipients, might be an answer to curb them effectively.

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