India: 18-month-old passes away, donates organs to save many lives

Her kidneys, eyes, liver and heart were donated after she was declared brain-dead on November 11


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Published: Sun 13 Nov 2022, 9:20 AM

The family of an 18-month-old child, who died by falling from the balcony, has donated her organs to save many lives.

Mahira fell from the balcony of her house in Mewat, Nooh in Haryana on November 6 and was brought to AIIMS Trauma Centre, Delhi in an unconscious state with severe brain damage. She was declared brain-dead on the morning of November 11.

"She donated her liver to a six-year-old child transplanted at ILBS Delhi. Both kidneys were transplanted to a 17-year-old patient at AIIMS. The cornea and heart valves were preserved for later use," said a doctor involved in organ donation.

After another 18-month-old boy, Mahira became the second youngest child in Delhi/NCR to donate her organs.

"Mahira happens to be third child in the last six months at AIIMS Trauma Centre to donate her organs. Rolly was the first child, followed by 18-month-old Rishant who donated his organs. Rolly's case was shown to Mahira's father and he understood the importance and concept of brain death and the need for organ donation to save the life of others," said Dr Deepak Gupta, Professor in Neurology.

Dr Gupta further emphasised on creating awareness among parents to avoid falling from heights among children.

"Fall from height is the biggest cause of death amongst children in India. (This is a) unique pattern noticed in our children."

He said the balcony height should be made twice the height of the children in the family. "Children often end up climbing the railing of the house on the balcony and fall over. Many such children die or sustain severe head injuries. Such deaths and injuries are completely preventable, " Dr Gupta said.


According to doctors involved in organ transplantation, awareness of organ donation is more in rural areas. They said most refusals come from senior members who have not heard of organ donations ever in their life.

"Law in our country needs to be looked into and changed to opt-out law (wherein everyone who meets with an accident is presumed to be an organ donor) as against Opt-in Law (currently existing law where family consent is needed, majority of families refuse for organ donation out of ignorance/inability to understand the urgent need of organs to save the life of those suffering from end-stage diseases," said a doctor.

India has 0.4 per million organ donation rates (the lowest in the world). USA and Spain have 50 per million population organ donation rates currently. In India, on average 700 organ donors donate organs after brain death. The USA recently completed 1 million organ donations in September 2022, the doctor said.

The doctor further said AIIMS Delhi has in the recent past made changes in organ procurement activities under new leadership as a result of which organ donations have picked up significantly in the last six months. He said a total of 14 organ donations have happened at AIIMS Delhi this year - the highest ever number since 1994.

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