Heart transplants show an increase in India; despite this, awareness on organ donation needed

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Myths and misconceptions about organ donation in India should be removed

New Delhi, 11 May 2018: There has been a ten-fold increase in heart transplantations in India since 2016, thanks to improved coordination between donation, retrieval and transplantation, as per recent estimates. About 300 heart transplantations took place across India in two years, as per data provided by the National Organ and Tissue Transplantation Organization (NOTTO), the national coordinating agency for cadaveric organ donation. What is encouraging is that even Tier 2 cities have emerged as transplantation hubs.

A heart transplant surgery is a highly sensitive procedure during which heart with damaged heart muscles, artery or valve is replaced with a fully functional and a healthy heart retrieved from a recently deceased individual.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Most organs retrieved after brain death remains alive for hours before they are transplanted in next person. Once blood is taken from a person it can be stored for months before being given to next person. The story of dancer Claire Sylvia who after receiving heart and lung transplant developed the traits of the donor (change in sexual preferences from male to female, change in the liking of color from red to green and blue, new acquiring taste for chicken and beer) talks about the concept cellular memory and that memory and consciousness can remain alive and even transfer to other persons during transplantation. However, this may not happen in everyone.”

The process of recovering organs is called harvesting. This organ is transplanted into the recipient who needs that organ. There are two types of organ donation: Live Donation and Deceased or Cadaver Donation.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Although the statistics indicate that there has been an increase in the number of heart transplants, there is a need to raise further awareness. People need to be sensitized on the fact that they can live even after death through organ donation. There is also a need to remove myths and misconceptions about organ donation and spread the message around.”

HCFI demystifies some myths

• Age is not a barrier for organ donation. Even people above the age of 80 have become organ and tissue donors.

• There is no requirement to be in perfect health for donation. Even those who smoke, drink or don’t have a healthy diet can donate.

• Organ and tissue donation do not disfigure the body in any way.

• In case of an accident, the doctor will always try to save the life of the victim first. Organ donation is considered as an option only when the person dies due to certain circumstances.

Prakriti, Vikriti and Sanskriti: The rules of life

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Prakriti is when a person lives for himself or when his actions are centered towards oneself. Sanskriti is when one lives for the sake of others and vikriti is nothing but distortion in one’s living.

Greed is a type of vikriti, which can make a ‘nar’ a ‘narbhakshi’ and later ‘nar rakshas. On the other hand, if a person works towards sanskriti, it can convert him/her from ‘nar’ to ‘narottam’ and from ‘narottam’ to ‘Narain’.

Lord Buddha also said that any action done should follow the rule that it be directed towards the welfare of all. Gandhi also propagated Sarvodaya or dedicating one’s actions to the welfare of all.

The basic fundamental teaching of the Vedic science is also based on Sarvodaya. Sahdev in Mahabharata and Bharat in Ramayana also talked about the quality of sarvodaya, which every human being has.

Dr. Deepak Chopra also writes in his book ‘The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success’ that one should always ask his/her consciousness when meeting somebody as to how one can help the other person.

Even a feeling of helping someone can make a difference.

The aim in life, therefore, should be to work not for oneself but for the welfare of the others. People gradually start working for themselves often for the family, society, nation and universe respectively.

Be true to your Sanskriti, while avoiding Prakriti and Vikriti. Follow this rule for a happy and peaceful life.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own)