The city will finally get a centre for coordinating organ transplants, which is crucial for optimizing opportunities when the family of a brain-dead patient agrees to donate the organs.

The Transplant Authority of Tamil Nadu (TRANSTAN) and the Zonal Transplant Coordination Centre (ZTCC), nodal agencies for coordinating organ transplants in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, respectively, have been pivotal in the success of the organ donation movement in the two states. The organ transplant and coordination centre here will play the same role in Bengal and fill this gap.

Funds for the facility were made available by the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO) two years ago but were lying idle with the Regional Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (ROTTO) till now because of the absence of a clear mandate to the official leading the latter. But that has changed. “The organ transplant coordination centre will be up and running in the next two-three months,” ROTTO head Arpita Ray Chaudhury told TOI.

The coordination centre will be located at SSKM Hospital but will be an autonomous body with a secure website which will contain the list of patients requiring different organs at various hospitals. An allocation software will priorities the prospective recipients according to organ required, age and criticality or medical emergency and possibility of positive tissue cross-match. The software will allocate organs to various patients when a brain death occurs and the organs are retrieved.

“The prospective recipients will be assigned points based on various key factors like age and criticality. Persons with maximum points will top the list for individual organs. There will also be a sub-list based on blood group,” Ray Chaudhury explained.

If a single deceased organ donation happens at a private hospital, it will get priority and the software will provide the recipient’s name. If the hospital is unable to carry out the transplant, the software will go into the city pool comprising patients from other hospitals — both private and state-owned — to choose another recipient’s name.

If two kidneys are donated at a private hospital, the latter will get an opportunity to carry out one transplant and the other would go to a government hospital. But, if the government hospital fails to carry out the transplant, the organ will be allotted to a private hospital.

Doctors and activists, who have been rallying for better coordination, have welcomed the initiative. “Seamless allocation of organs will ensure utilization of maximum organs from a deceased patient. When SSKM Hospital declared 21-year-old Deepsikha Samanta brain-dead on February 21, her kidneys gave a new lease of life to two patients. Had the transplant coordination centre been in place, her liver, heart, pancreas and intestine, too, could also have been retrieved and transplanted in patients,” deceased organ donation activist commodore V M Swami said.

Ray Chaudhury hopes the transparency and fairness in organ allocation process will encourage government as well as private hospitals to be more proactive in declaring brain deaths that will, in turn, give a fillip to organ donation. – TOI 

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