Odisha: 21-month-old brain dead infant’s organs harvested to save two lives

Bhubaneswar: Parents of a 21-month-old male baby who was declared brain dead at the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital here showed magnanimity by donating the child’s organs to save two other lives elsewhere.

 The baby, born in the hospital in July 2022, had developed health issues subsequently and fell sick intermittently. He was brought to the hospital by the parents several times and had recovered after treatment, Prof. (Dr.) Debasmita Rath of the hospital’s Pediatrics department said.

 The infant was again admitted into the hospital about a fortnight ago and was diagnosed with meningitis, she said.

 After being treated in the ICU, the baby suffered septic shock and was declared brain dead on Saturday.

The infant’s parents, Mr. Gouri Shankar Panigrahi and Ms. Sharmistha Panigrahi, both city-based artistes, then expressed their desire to donate the organs of the baby to help other patients elsewhere requiring transplant.

The hospital authorities passed on the information to the State Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (SOTTO) who, in turn, got in touch with the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) to take the matter forward.

It was decided that the liver of the infant would be flown to the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) at New Delhi for a baby awaiting transplantation. The kidneys were taken to a city-based hospital for another patient needing transplant.

A team from the local AIIMS here harvested the liver to be taken to New Delhi for which the police had prepared a green corridor for smooth passage to the Biju Patnaik Airport.

Prof. (Dr.) Rachita Sarangi, Acting Medical Superintendent of the hospital, said this was the first time in Odisha that the organs of such a small baby had been harvested to help save lives elsewhere.

A disconsolate Sharmistha, mother of the baby, said though she was heartbroken as her baby did not survive, she got consolation from the fact that the organs of her child would help another baby live-on elsewhere.

This is the third time since 2022 that organs from brain dead patients in the IMS and SUM Hospital had been harvested and taken to other hospitals for transplantation. Organs of two brain dead patients at the SUM Ultimate Medicare had also been flown out of the city within the last one year for persons awaiting transplantation.