Brain Death: Need standard operating protocols to address grey areas

Brain death certification soon
The National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation has begun the process of framing uniform guidelines on brain death certification to be followed by doctors across the country.

The National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation has begun the process of framing uniform guidelines on brain death certification to be followed by doctors across the country.

NOTTO, the nodal agency that frames policy guidelines and protocols involved in organ donation and transplantation, will hold consultations with 60 medical experts on February 20 in New Delhi to arrive at a framework.

Although the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act (THOTA), 1994, has laid out the rules for brain death certification, they are essentially clinical parameters, NOTTO Director Vimal Bhandari told The Hindu on Thursday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a training programme for transplant coordinators, organised by MOHAN Foundation under the aegis of NOTTO at Aster CMI Hospital here, Dr. Bhandari said it was essential to develop Standard Operating Protocols (SOPs) for brain death certification to address the grey areas in the procedure and empower intensive care personnel.

‘Doctors confused’

States like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Chandigarh and Maharashtra were doing well on the organ donation front.

This was because they had a common protocol in private and government hospitals.

But such was not the case in States like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Although the Act had a prescribed set of rules, doctors were confused about what needed to be done if they were faced with a medico-legal case or otherwise. The SOPs would put an end to this, Dr. Bhandari said.

“In India, deceased organ donation is catching up in the private sector but it is lagging behind in the government sector. If we evolve SOPs, keeping in mind facilities available in private and government hospitals, doctors will be empowered to declare a brain death without any hitch,” he said.

About National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO)

National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO) is a National level organization set up under Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India located at 4th and 5th Floor of Institute of Pathology (ICMR) Building in Safdarjung Hospital New Delhi.

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