Thursday, November 24, 2011

Body donation on the rise in Coimbatore

Medical education in the city is all set to get a boost with more residents approaching the Government Medical College here pledging to donate their bodies. Since January this year, 80 city residents have pledged their bodies for research work of MBBS and MD students at the college. This is happening at a time when lack of cadaver is hitting medical education and research in other parts of the country.

In fact, the changing profile of persons coming forward to donate their bodies seems to be an encouraging sign for the medical college authorities, who usually depend on unclaimed bodies from different government hospitals in the district and surroundings. "A majority of the people pledging their bodies includes elderly, who otherwise are considered orthodox and conservative. Now it seems people have started shedding their inhibitions and discarding myths in this regard to come forward for this noble cause," said P Sivaprakasam, Resident Medical Officer of the Medical College.

Till recently, body donation was considered as a taboo in the city like elsewhere. According to Sivaprakasam, those pledging their bodies now come forward from all sections of society, including old as well as young.

It was just on Saturday, parcel company employee S B Jagadeeshwaran (58) and his wife N R Manjuladevi (42), who works as record clerk at Coimbatore District court, had pldged to donate their bodies to the medical college. They found 79th and 80{+t}{+h} position in the list of donors. Body donation is defined as the act of giving ones body after death for medical research and education. It is indeed a noble act that benefits the society at large. Cadavers and donated bodies remain a principal teaching tool for anatomists and medical educators teaching gross anatomy and so the donors are helping medical education to flourish,'' said Sivaprakasam.

"I am very much enthused by the idea. It is quite thrilling to know that my body would help medical students to excel in their chosen field. After all, more number of qualified doctors means more health and betterment for the society,'' said Manjuladevi when TOI sought her reaction. The body is in anyway going to perish within minutes after death. Why not we donate it for the betterment of the society?,'' she sked.

There is a lack of awareness amongst the people about the need to donate cadavers,'' pointed out Jagadeeshwaran, who is involved in co-ordinating blood donation activities in the city and the encouraging of people for eye donation.

According to him, voluntary donation of body is not much different from donation of organs including eyes, kidney, liver, heart or simply blood. The only requirement is a mindset. Decision of an individual to donate his or her body for anatomical reaserach is a vital contribution towards the understanding and advancement of medical science,'' he said.

"It is remarkable that 80 people pledged their bodies this year. Since January, the medical college is in receipt of three bodies of people who were registered earlier," informed Sivaprakasam.

For donating body, people have to follow certain formalities. The most important of all is the consent of their own family members, who have to sign the forms provided by the medical college. The registration can be done only at the medical college and a person can pledge for organ donation by filling up a donor form in the presence of two witnesses. One among the witnesses must be a close relative. The pledge must be prepared in Rs20 stamp paper and get attested by notary public. The medical college, on its part, will give the concerned person an organ donor card bearing a registration number. Any person of any age and background can be a donor. If below 18 years, permission is required from parents or guardian.

During the time of death, there would be verification. Autopsied bodies and decomposed bodies would not be accepted. Body would also be rejected if the death was due to a contagious or communicable disease, suicide or homicide. On getting information of death, the body would be embalmed and handed over to Anatomy department.

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