25-year-old with brain disease leaves Diwali gift behind when family donates its organs

KOLKATA: A 25-year-old woman died at AMRI Hospitals in Dhakuria on Wednesday, after which her family donated her liver, kidneys, cornea and heart. Their daughter, they felt, “would continue to live in the bodies of the recipients”.

Marking the 11th deceased organ donation of the year on Diwali, the organs were harvested for recipients at Fortis Hospital, SSKM Hospital and Shankara Netralaya.

Debalina Ghosh, the donor, had been admitted to AMRI on November 4 after she fell severely ill following water accumulation in her brain. Suffering from a brain ailment since birth, she could not be revived. Even before she was declared brain dead on Wednesday, her family had decided to donate her organs. “Doctors had told us on Tuesday night that chances of her survival were negligible. While it broke our hearts, I decided to donate my daughter’s organs. Not only will it save a few others’ lives, my daughter will continue to live in their bodies. What more can I ask for?” said the donor’s father, Arun Ghosh.

While the woman’s heart was sent to Fortis Hospital, her liver and kidneys were transported to SSKM and Shankara Netralaya got her corneas. The organ excavation, which began around 11pm, was set to continue for four hours.

“Once the organs are harvested, they will be quickly transported to the receiving hospitals along a green corridor. Our arrangements are complete and the receiving hospitals, too, are getting ready for transplants,” said AMRI CEO Rupak Barua.

A 30-year-old woman from Kolkata could receive Debalina’s heart, according to Fortis Hospital. But the matching of organs was yet to be carried out and doctors had their fingers crossed. “So far, we have merely carried out the blood-group matching test. The rest will have to be done once the organ is excavated. We hope to begin the transplant surgery early on Thursday, in case everything goes according to plan,” said Fortis transplant surgeon K M Mandana, who will be part of the surgical team.

This will be the third heart transplant at Fortis since last May. While the first recipient was from Jharkhand, the second donated heart went to a Kolkatan. Both transplants were successful and the recipients are doing well. “We are trying to start the heart retrieval by midnight. If everything goes fine, we will attempt to finish the transplant surgery by 6am on Thursday,” said Fortis medical superintendent Arafat Faisal.

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