7 get a new lease of life with organs harvested from brain-dead nurse

7 get a new lease of life with organs harvested from brain-dead nurse
Nibiya Mary Joseph (L), The heart being brought to the Kottayam Medical College Hospital for transplantation.

Kochi/Kottayam: Organ donation is slowly picking up in India as irrational fears and taboos are overcome for a noble cause. Cadaveric donation is also increasingly reported as hospitals and authorities make organised efforts to utilise the organs and tissues of brain-dead and heart-dead people. South Indian states are way ahead in this respect when compared to other parts of the country. The other day the organs of a 25-year-old Keralite woman were harvested as soon as she was declared brain-dead following an accident on June 10 in which her father too had died.

The organs from late Nibiya Mary Joseph would give a new lease of life to seven people, including a heart patient in Kottayam district.

Her heart would now beat for Sanjeev Gopi, 30, of Changanassery in Kottayam.

Car accident

Idukki native Nibiya, who was undergoing treatment after she was grievously injured in a car accident at Perumbavur on June 10, succumbed to injuries on Friday. After brain death was confirmed at 7am, her relatives agreed for organ donation.

Her father Joseph Chacko was also killed in the accident, while her brother Nidhin who drove the car was undergoing treatment for injuries.

Joseph was the owner of Evergreen Enterprises at Chettukuzhi in Idukki. Nibiya, who had worked as a nurse for Apollo Hospitals in Chennai for two years, was trying to find a job abroad. The accident happened when they were heading to Kochi from a relative's house in Kothamangalam. A speeding car which first hit a bike, rammed their vehicle before hitting a school bus.

Nibiya's funeral would be held at St Joseph Church at Pazhaya Kochara on Saturday evening.

Nirmala is Nibiya's mother, while Nileena is her sister.

The beneficiaries

After she was confirmed brain dead at the Aster Medcity in Kochi on Friday morning, surgery to harvest Nibiya's organs began by 11am at Aster Medcity in Kochi. Dr Mathew Jacob, Dr Shejoy P Joshua, Dr S Romal, and Kottayam medical college Dr T K Jayakumar led the surgery.

Nibiya's eyes were donated to Giridhar Eye Institute in Kochi, one kidney and pancreas to Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Edappally; liver to Aster Medcity; heart and one kidney to Kottayam Medical College Hospital.

Her heart was taken to Kottayam to be transplanted on to Sanjeev at the Kottayam Medical College Hospital. This was the fifth heart transplant surgery to be carried out successfully at this hospital.

New heart for welder

The ambulance carrying Nibiya’s heart left Aster Medcity by 2pm and reached the Kottayam hospital within an hour. The surgery led by Kottayam medical college superintendent T K Jayakumar began at 3.30pm and was by completed by 6pm.

Sanjeev, suffering from dialectic cardiomyopathy that affects the heart muscles, had been undergoing treatment for five years. Health problems were first detected when he was working as a welder at a workshop in Ernakulam. He had sought treatment at Sree Chitra Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram and the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital. He had been undergoing treatment at the Kottayam hospital for two years. His condition worsened recently after he suffered a stroke.

He had registered with the government's organ donation programme, Mrithasanjeevani. As Nibiya's blood group was AB+, it was found to be most suitable for Sanjeev.

Sanjeev is the son of Changanassery natives Gopi and Thankamma. He has a twin brother, Sandeep, who works at Thiruvalla. Sandeep had been with Sanjeev after he suffered ailments. Sandeep was also present at the hospital as the surgery on Sanjeev progressed.

Rs 11 lakh in one day

About Rs 11 lakh was collected for Sanjeev's heart surgery by well-wishers in a single day. Payippad panchayat and Changanassery media village held a widespread campaign to source the money. Rs 2 lakh has been spent on the medical expenses so far. The rest of the money would be used for the heart transplant. His parents are worried about the medical expenses they would incur even after the surgery.

4 years, five hearts

Five heart transplants have been carried out at the Kottayam Medical College Hospital so far. The first heart transplant surgery was held in October 2015 on Pathanamthitta native Podimon. Surgery on K K Balan, 51, of Pulpally in Wayanad was held in June 2016, while Basheer, 54, of Edavanakkad underwent surgery in July 2017. The fourth surgery was carried out P Subramanya Bhatt, 51, of Udayamperoor in October 2018.

Donate organs

Mrithasanjeevani is an initiative of the Kerala Network of Organ Sharing (KNOS) run by the government. Names of patients would be registered with Mrithasanjeevani by hospitals. The name of the beneficiary would be decided by the KNOS state-level committee, which would also consider the health condition of the patient. The hospital where the patient is admitted would be contacted and the procedures for organ donation would be followed.

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