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Dr Chloe Balleste and Prof Deepak Gupta

Spanish and US experts share expertise with AIIMS to boost organ donation

To increase the availability of organs in the country, a team of experts from Spain, Japan, Italy, and the United States shared their experiences, including the protocol and guidelines that are followed in those countries for organ donations, with doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.

The Transplant and Procurement Program (TPM) course was part of a four-day training workshop attended by doctors and other healthcare workers from AIIMS and other parts of India.

It should be noted that cadaver donation in India is still insignificant in comparison to that in the Western world.

“We want the TPM course to be implemented across India to increase organ donation. We have learned that there are knowledge gaps among doctors about organ donation. There is a lack of awareness among them on how to certify a brain death,” Prof Deepak Gupta from the Department of Neurosurgery at Delhi-AIIMS said.

“We have tried to streamline the nitty-gritty of this issue at AIIMS. We have taken a model from Spain, which has the best record of organ donations in the world. Spain has the best organ donation rate per one million population. So we thought, why not take their guidance to boost organ donation in India,” Prof Gupta, who is also the in-charge of organ procurement services at AIIMS, added.

He informed, “We organised a TPM workshop in which 50 doctors across India participated.”

Prof Gupta said that doctors from multiple specialities, including neurosurgeons, neuro-anaesthetics, paediatricians, and burn and plastic surgeons, participated in the TPM.

He added that the rationale behind inviting these 50 experts as they are decision-makers and address the gaps and queries about organ donation.

Prof Gupta further said that during the conference, the participants pointed out the need to bring professionalism to the approach and inculcate dedication to organ donation among the medical fraternity.

“There is a dedicated team of doctors and transplant coordinators in West. We need to form a similar group of doctors who will work on organ donation.,” he added.

“We are following it to a certain extent at AIIMS, and we have discussed various issues with them and hope that in coming years you will see a change (rise in organ donation),” he added.

Dr Chloe Balleste, Director for international donation at Donation and Transplantation Institute (DTI) Cooperation and Associate Professor at the University of Barcelona, said, “The main secret of this Spanish model is the professionalisation of the activities. In Spain, the doctors from ICU take upon themselves the responsibility for organ donation. It means that in every hospital in Spain, where there is an ICU, somebody is responsible for organ donation.”

She further said, “We are taking efforts to train the doctors and nurses in the field of organ donation and we integrate these activities inside organ donation.”

“The hospital has the responsibility of organ donation. We have seen in India many efforts have been taken, and at AIIMS, we are very happy to be invited for this national course.”

“It is the first time we have put together so many intensive care doctors and surgeons who will be dealing with the process (of organ donation). This should be done regularly because India is a continent by itself. We need to adopt this model,” she stressed.

“We are not talking about the model that has to be 100% replicated. It has to become an Indian model, but for that first step is to have doctors and nurses ready to do that, and for that, you need professionalisation and training,” Dr Balleste added.

Explaining the strategies the doctors in ICU adopt, Dr Balleste said that these activities are based on science. They are based on skills and they are based on professionalisation so that means if you are doing the job you need to be rewarded.

 “In the hospital, there should be a budget to take care of the donation cases. On the other hand, what I am saying is that this is a practice that has to be sustained on the basis of scientific and professional guidelines. That is why every hospital has to have a protocol, practical guidelines and standard operating procedures,” Dr Balleste explained. 

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