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Surgeon’s tips to boost transplant

John J. Fung stressed the need for the state to waive the cost of treatment of the donors to give a boost to cadaver organ transplant
John J. Fung

Rith Basu   |   Calcutta   |   Published 19.02.19, 07:14 AM

Relatives of brain dead patients should be counselled on cadaver organ donation by trained professionals appointed by the government, a transplant surgeon from Chicago said.

John J. Fung, chief transplant surgeon at the University of Chicago, also stressed the need for the state to waive the cost of treatment of the donors to give a boost to cadaver organ transplant.

Fung was speaking at the “Symposium on Transplant and Immunology Update” on Monday, organised by the Regional Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation and the Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research at SSKM Hospital.

In the US, Fung said, 80 per cent of the organ donations are from cadaver donors and the rest from live donors. In India, only 5 per cent of the harvested organs are from cadaver donors and the rest from live donors.

Fung told Metro that counselling of relatives of brain dead patients should be done by trained government employees.

In Calcutta, private hospitals that are licensed to perform transplants have transplant co-ordinators to counsel relatives. “There is a possibility that counsellors appointed by hospitals are either not well trained or might not take the initiative since there is no incentive,” said Fung.

The surgeon recommended that the government waive the cost of treatment of brain dead patients and fund the immuno-suppressant medicines that organ recipients have to take. Such drugs are very expensive.

Treatment and medicines are free in government hospitals but not at private hospitals in Bengal.

In the US, Fung said, a person appearing for a driving test is asked whether he would like to be an organ donor. If the answer is yes, the word “donor” is printed on the driving licence.

“This saves a lot of time and work when a person is declared brain dead,” Fung said.

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