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Pune, 28th January 2021: Emphasizing on the need to build awareness and a roadmap to overcome challenges towards Cadaver Donation, Institute of Medicine & Law (IML) today organized “National MedLegal Awareness Campaign on Organ Donation” and released a Whitepaper on Organ Donation. The event witnessed an intriguing panel discussion on the recommendations of the Whitepaper that addresses the gaps in the organ donation framework in India.

Experts from various fields included, Mahendra Kumar Bajpai, Advocate, Supreme Court of India, Hon. Director, Institute of Medicine & Law; Dr. Sunil Yashwant Jawale, DM Nephrology, Jehangir Hospital, Ms. Arati Gokhale, Transplant coordinator at Zonal Transplant Coordination Committee; Mr. Rajesh Shetty, President, Re-birth foundation; Ms. Amruta Deogaonkar, Social Activist, member Rotary Club; Dr. Vrishali Patil, Multi Organ Transplant Surgeon (liver, kidney, pancreas), Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital; Ms. Mayuri Barge, Transplant coordinator at D Y Patil Medical College and Hospital; Dr. Shashikala Gurpur, Director at Symbiosis Law School, Pune along with patients. Additionally, Dr. Bhagwat Karad, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha and Justice Ravi Tripathi, Chairman: Gujarat State Human Rights Commission; Former Judge, Gujarat High Court graced the event as chief guest.

The Whitepaper captures the deliberations of the 5th National Convention on Medicine & Law that emphasizes on various aspects of Cadaver Donation – from the challenges faced by doctors (grief counselling, alternative tests), caregivers & patients waiting for an organ, to the need for streamlining organ donation and transplantation activities at State & Central level. It also sheds light on the legal definition and government’s role in the cadaver donation process.

Addressing the medical aspect of the discussion Dr. Sunil Yashwant Jawale, DM Nephrology, Jehangir Hospital, said, “the need to increase awareness on organ donation is the need of the hour. This does not limit to public but also amongst Medical and para medical practitioner. We have had over 87 number of organ transplant and 41 Cadaver donations in the year 2020 in Pune.

A lot of doctors restrain themselves from getting involved in Organ donation due to legal issues. This shows a need of law to protect the doctors who make decisions and take required actions in good faith.

Moreover, to facilitate faster procedures, the need to look at alternatives and ancillary tests to apnea test to be statutorily recognized.”

Elaborating further Mr. Mahendrakumar Bajpai, Advocate, Supreme Court of India Standing Counsel, The Medlegal Attorneys Editor, Medical Law Cases – For Doctors, Hon. Director, Institute of Medicine & Law said, “The nation today needs a central law on uniform definition of death. Many countries are following the same as per WHO. The Registration of Birth and Death Act, which is currently in the process of getting amended, should include Brain-stem Death as a form of death. The socio-cultural preferences of the Indian society should be considered while defining the order of decision makers. The list should be comprehensive, and the order of preference should be clearly laid down. Additionally, to streamline the process a single authority for reporting, compliance and directions should be contemplated.”

Mrs. Arati Gokhale, said, To bridge the gap between patients waiting for organ transplant and the available donors, we need to constantly work towards raising awareness for the cause. The process of Organ Donation is fragile, and we come across a lot of hurdles which are to be managed sensitively and thoughtfully. Furthermore, there should be increased co-ordination between public and private hospitals to achieve better patient outcomes and address the organ donation supply demand gap in India.”

The event also witnessed patients sharing their journeys from their ordeal of wait to their joy of receiving organ.