Interview - The Govt. Stanley Hospital Team - “All for one and one for all...”
‘All for one and one for all, united we stand divided we fall’, the motto of Alexandre Dumas’ Three Musketeers comes to mind when one meets the team of anaesthesiologists of the Cadaver Transplant Programme at Government Stanley Hospital, Chennai. One can feel the passion and energy that emanates from each member of the team – Dr. Satish Logidasan, Dr. G. P. Arulraj, Dr. R. Kanimozhi, Dr. A. Karthik, Dr. A. Gowrishankar, Dr. Paul Praveen, Dr. S. Prasana Vadhanan, Dr. S. Ambal – they have made this programme their own and led by example.
The team applauded the vision of Prof. S. Ravichandran, Director, Dept. of Surgical Gastroenterology and the former directors as they were responsible for the genesis of a dedicated unit for the cadaver transplant programme in Government Stanley Hospital. The team said that they were building on the foundation that all of them helped lay. One of the key factors that has encouraged and motivated the team is the acknowledgement of their inputs from people in the government. Dr. J. Radhakrishnan, IAS, Secretary to Govt. of Tamil Nadu, Dept. of Health & Family Welfare, and Mr. P. W. C. Davidar, IAS, who were instrumental in streamlining deceased organ donation in Tamil Nadu came in for special praise from them.
The team members said that Mr. P. W. C. Davidar appreciated their inputs as being of immense value in implementing change at the grassroots level to facilitate deceased organ donation. This helped the team use a collaborative approach to garner support from other stakeholders within the hospital. They also have ongoing audits to assess and better their performance. As a result, there has been a slow, but steady increase in the number of deceased organ donors – from 2 donors in 2009 to 11 donors in 2013 and now (stop press!) 7 donors in just three months in 2016. They have strong donor optimisation protocols that ensure that brain stem death testing can be done in a planned manner.
Dr. Satish Logidasan said that they see themselves as carrying the baton of life – a privilege given to them by the families of deceased donors. Earning the trust of the family is crucial for this. Dr. R. Kanimozhi added that they explain brain stem death and apnoea testing to the families in an easy-to-understand manner. Thereafter, the option of organ donation is also gently broached. The transplant coordinator is an integral part of the team at all times. Mr. Senthil Kumar has been with them since 2009 and was, in fact, conferred the Best Transplant Coordinator award in 2014 by MOHAN Foundation.
They have an ongoing public advocacy campaign in schools and colleges, which is coordinated by Dr. G. P. Arulraj. He said that some of the toughest questions posed to him came from students who were just 9 or 10 years old! With college students, many questions stemmed from the depiction of organ donation and transplantation in movies – most of what was shown had no bearing on reality, but created doubts among people. This needed to be tackled at the censor board level, the team felt.
Prof. S. Ravichandran is a strong believer in supporting training to ensure sustainability in a government transplant programme. Government Stanley Hospital is the only government hospital in India that has had an ongoing liver transplant programme since 2009 and till now 50 liver transplants have been performed. In fact, three liver transplants were done in the space of just one month this year.
The dynamic leadership of the Dean, Dr. Isaac Christian Moses, has helped the various teams to forge strong bonds that have put Government Stanley Hospital on the deceased donation map of India. The motto ‘All for one and one for all…’ continues to resonate.
Dr. Sumana Navin
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