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In death, Mumbai woman gifts lease of life to 3 others

After she died due to a cardio-respiratory arrest on Friday, Nandini Gopal’s husband honoured her wishes and donated her eyes, liver and kidneys , saving three lives in the process

When Mulund resident Sreeram Gopal lost his 43-year-old wife Nandini a day after she suffered a headache and convulsions, his world came crashing down around him.

Nandini Gopal’s kidneys and liver gave three women a new lease on life, just a day after her death
Nandini Gopal’s kidneys and liver gave three women a new lease on life, just a day after her death

Even as he grieved for the sudden and unexpected loss, Gopal now finds some comfort in the fact that his wife will live on, in the lives of others. Less than a day after she was declared brain dead due to cerebral bleeding, Gopal and other family members decided to donate her organs, saving three lives in the process.

“My wife Nandini was admitted on Thursday. The very next day, doctors informed us that she was brain dead and wouldn’t make it. We immediately decided to donate both her kidneys, liver and eyes, since she had always been keen on organ donation,” said Sreeram.

“Why let her organs go to waste when we could help other patients? Since she always said she would want us to donate her organs in case anything happened, it was the right thing to do,” he added. Nandini, who worked as an HR consultant with a private firm, died from cardio-respiratory arrest. Her eyes have been donated to an eye bank.

Of the three women who got a new lease on life because of the donations, one was a 28-year-old woman admitted in Bombay Hospital, in need of a kidney. The two other beneficiaries a 47-year-old woman with a chronic kidney disease and a 72-year-old woman with liver cirrhosis had been on the waiting list in Fortis Hospital, said Santosh Sorate, transplant coordinator of the hospital.

Speaking to mid-day, Dr Haresh Dodeja, nephrologist at the hospital, said, “The 47-year-old woman was on dialysis for the past six years due to a chronic kidney disease. She was on the waiting list for quite a while, and finally had her kidney transplant after the donation. Her condition is stable now.”

The 72-year-old recipient who was suffering from liver cirrhosis will now get another shot at life, after receiving the liver. Dr Rakesh Rai, head of the liver transplant programme at the hospital, said she is now under observation in the ICU following the transplant, and that her condition is also stable.

Too little, too far apart
Dr N K Hase, head of the nephrology department at KEM hospital, said that it has been two months since the last cadaveric donation in the civic-run hospital. “The sad part is that there were three brain dead patients in our hospital in the last one month, but their families refused to donate organs of their patients, though our counsellors repeatedly approached them. There still needs to be more awareness among people to increase the number of cadaver transplants,” said Dr Hase.

Healthy rise
While there were only 20 donations in Mumbai all of 2013, the city has already witnessed 27 cadaver organ donations this year. The highest number of donations before this year was in 2012, when there were 26 cadaver donors, said an official from the Zonal Transplant Coordination Centre (ZTCC).

Despite this, Mumbai is lagging far behind other cities like Chennai, where there are around 80 cadaveric donations every year. Experts say that there is still little awareness among patients and relatives about organ donations, and how it can save lives of those in dire need of transplants.

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