A 61-year-old Brahmin woman’s fight against superstitious beliefs that were preventing her from donating the organs of her 69-year-old husband–declared brain dead in Kauvery Hospital, Chennai – is a story of success even amidst a terrible tragedy.
Fighting the mental block even as relatives and loved ones opposed, the brave woman was able to donate the organs. Despite the large demand – supply gap in organs that the country is known to have, in most cases, organs are not donated and end up becoming ash when cremated or been buried with the body, due to a string of factors, one of which is superstitious beliefs.
A study conducted by Mohan Foundation (a non-profit organisation that promotes organ donation and transplantation in India) in Chennai, found that religion and superstitious belief was the third cause for which people abstained from organ donation.
“Some people are against the thought of cutting open one’s body. However, they fail to realise that in medico-legal cases, if a post mortem is required, the body will surely be cut open. There is no truth behind any superstitious beliefs, which will continue to exist if awareness is not created,” said Dr Sunil Shroff, Founder, Mohan Foundation.
Stressing on the need for donation to be projected as the extension of one’s life, Dr Shroff said that people fail to realise that their loved one is going to be living in other families.
Despite Tamil Nadu following Kerala in the highest number of donations, superstitious beliefs continue to serve as a barrier to voluntary organ donations.
“There is a belief that if you donate your organs, you will be born without the organ in the next life. Increased education and awareness is the only solution to ridding the society of such ideas,” added Dr Shroff.
Although the state boasts of being home to hospitals that provide the best eye treatment, not many willingly agree to donate their eyes. India, which is known to have over 12 million blind people, continues to have high numbers due to the lack of donations.
“One of the biggest problems in eye donation is superstition. People believe that if someone dies and his eyes are donated, he will be blind in his next birth. However, in a country like Sri Lanka, eye donations are extremely high as most of the population is Buddhist. In Buddhism, there is a philosophy that if you donate your eyes, you will become a better person,” said Dr Amar Agarwal, chairman, Agarwal’s Eye Hospitals.
“Hospitals should hire counsellors to be present with the family before their loved ones are declared brain dead. It will surely take the family time to come to terms with the loss and donating organs will be the last thing on their minds,” said Dr Sridhar, senior consultant surgeon, Kauvery Hospital.
Courtesy : Deccan Chronicle