Dr. Francis L. Delmonico, renowned transplant surgeon, visits MOHAN Foundation Chennai
Dr. Francis L. Delmonico is a renowned transplant surgeon and a vocal campaignerof the deceased organ donation programme. He wears many hats - he is Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, U.S.A., he is also President-elect of The World Transplantation Society, Medical Director of the New England Organ Bank and Advisor to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
A great clinician as well as humanitarian, he was an integral part of the Istanbul Declaration in 2008, which came out strongly against organ trafficking and transplant tourism. He travels extensively throughout the world speaking out against organ sales. In China prisoners are executed every day for the sake of their organs and patients from Saudi Arabia and Egypt travel to China and Pakistan to get a transplant. This is completely unacceptable, he says.
Dr. Delmonico was in Chennai on a two-day visit to discuss ways and means to promote the deceased organ donation programme in India. What has prompted his visit is the success that Tamil Nadu has shown with this programme in the past couple of years – the organ donor rate in the state is 1.3 per million population, which is 15 times the national average. The key factor has been the coming together of the government administration, government and private hospitals and NGOs like MOHAN Foundation and NNOS. There has been teamwork at every stage - identification of brain death, maintenance, counselling families that have lost a loved one, and organ retrieval.
Dr. Delmonico visited MOHAN Foundation on 29th June 2011 and had an informal interaction with the team at MOHAN Foundation and other transplant coordinators. He said that the transplant coordinators were responsible, to a great extent, for the success of the deceased organ donation programme in the state. He added that through their persistence they could change the whole world because finally all organs donated belonged to the community.Ms. R. Veena, Transplant coordinator, MOHAN Foundation made a presentation on the Govt. General Hospital experience with deceased organ donation. Dr. Delmonico said that some of the problems encountered here were similar to the ones in the New England Organ Bank. Also joining the discussion was Mr. P.W.C. Davidar, IAS, who has worked closely with all the stakeholders to put systems and procedures in place to make the deceased donation programme acceptable to all. He emphasized the need to work towards consensus based outcomes and ensure that things are done in an ethical and transparent manner.
Dr. Delmonico met and presented certificates to the participants of the one-month Transplant Coordinators' Training programme held in April 2011. He said that he hoped to be back next year and that meanwhile, he would continue to lobby for support for the deceased organ donation programme in India.
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