Road accident victim from Himachal turns donor, saves lives of three patients

The critically injured Pankaj was first rushed to a local private hospital in Mohali and then was referred to the PGIMER after he lost his battle for life on December 30 due to cardiac arrest

A 26-year-old road accident victim from Himachal Pradesh gave the "gift of life" to one terminally ill person with renal failure and two other patients with his parents giving consent for donation of his organs, the PGIMER said on Monday. The family of victim Pankaj belongs to Jogipur village in Kangra district. Paying tributes to the donor family, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) Director Jagat Ram said: "It takes grit, an elevated sense of social responsibility and a heart to do what the family of Pankaj has done. "In their act of exemplary courage, they have not only helped give people a second chance to live but have also inspired many more people to donate organs.

"Donor Pankaj has not died, instead he will live in three different lives and in the hearts of all of us for his kind act." As per the PGIMER, Pankaj met a road accident on night of December 28. He, along with a friend, was going on a two-wheeler when they were hit by a vehicle from the opposite side. The impact of the accident was so massive that Pankaj fell down and became unconscious at the accident site due to a severe head injury.

The critically injured Pankaj was first rushed to a local private hospital in Mohali and then was referred to the PGIMER. He lost his battle for life on December 30 due to cardiac arrest. Though the opportunity to retrieve other organs barring kidneys was lost owing to cardiac arrest, which is generally leveraged if the patient is declared brain-dead, transplant coordinators on duty apprised the family of the limited opportunity of organ donation in case of cardiac death to which his father Joginder Kumar consented.

"It's very devastating to lose your son in his prime. We were preparing for his marriage scheduled after two months and here we are empty-handed, with our lives doomed with this untimely tragedy. Nothing in this world can fill the void created by my son's loss. Our true life force has gone and we are just counting the days," Joginder Kumar said.

"It's no life without him. I said 'yes' for organ donation of my beloved son so that some other family does not face the cruel fate like us." Following the consent by the donor family, the cross match of several potential recipients by the Department of Nephrology was initiated. Detailing about the process, nephrology head H.S. Kohli said: "The moment we got the intimation for possible cadaveric transplantation, the team sprang into action and started contacting the patients as per their seniority and medical fitness."

"These days patients have become more aware and they ask a lot of questions about the status of potential donor's kidney. Four to six potential recipients were called, investigations were sent and they were provided dialysis. This process took a day or two till the best matched recipient got the donated kidney." As only one kidney was found usable, which, on transplantation, gave new life to one terminally ill patient, who had been on the waiting list for long cutting short his harrowing experience of painful dialysis.

This was the 17th case of donation after cardiac death since 2011 when the PGIMER forayed into donation after cardiac death. The donated corneas gave sight to two corneal blind patients. Despite the challenges of Covid-19, the PGIMER closed the year 2020 with a steady trend with a number of 20 cadaver organ donations as compared to 31 in 2019 and 33 in 2018. The total number of major organs donated during 2020 was 41 while this number was 73 in 2019 and 92 in 2018.

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