In a noble deed, a dying veteran donated his organs to give ” Gift of Life” to others including wife of a serving soldier. In a first of its kind in Armed Forces Medical Services(AFMS) , the Army Organ Retrieval and Transplant Authority (AORTA) coordinated an inter hospital transfer of a heart for transplant on 11 February 2023.
AFMS is a deemed state as per Transplant act 2014 (THOA) and Director Armed Forces Medical Services (DGAFMS) has been vested with powers to share donated organs between it’s various military hospital’s said Director AORTA, the agency which coordinates the allocation of donated organs in Armed Forces in close liaison with National agency NOTTO.
The organ donor was a 40 year old veteran who had sustained a road traffic accident on 08 February in Bhind, Madhya Pradesh when he was hit by a two wheeler. He was taken to a local civil hospital where he was put on life support and was brought to Army Hospital ,Research & Referral ( AHRR), New Delhi on 09 Feb. He had severe head injury and was declared brain dead on the morning of 11 February by the critical care team of AHRR.
The family of the veteran voluntarily decided for multiple organ donation said the transplant Coordinator with AORTA at AHRR. A 29 yr wife of a serving soldier, who was suffering from a weak heart was waiting for a suitable heart organ donor since last six months at Pune based Army Institute of Cardio Thoracic Sciences (AICTS).
Commandant AICTS said that she was suffering from Dilated Cardiomyopathy with recurrent Ventricular Tachycardia (VT). She had an implanted device which was automatically delivering shocks to her heart repeatedly to keep it’s rhythm in check. She required a new heart to prolong her life and the team at AICTS was waiting to find a suitable one for her.The Medical Branch of Southern Command coordinated transfer of donated heart from AHRR with help of Western Air Command.
In an inter-service coordinated action, carried out in military precision, in little over four hours, the organ was retrieved by Heart Surgery team at AHRR, transported through a green corridor to waiting Indian Airforce Aircraft at New Delhi specially dedicated to this effort, flown to Pune and transported by a green corridor to AICTS, Pune established by Southern Command Provost unit in coordination with Maharashtra state police and Traffic police.
Head of the Cardiothoracic Surgery at AICTS and his team of surgeons and anaesthesiologists transplanted the heart in record time. This is the first instance when a donor heart has been transported between two service hospitals within such a short period due to miraculous effort by IAF by providing a fast Embraer jet Aircraft. It was a race against time as the stopped heart has to start functioning between four to five hours or else it gets damaged said Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon and deputy team leader. He said that the transplanted heart was working fine and patient was recovering in ICU.
This was AICTS second heart transplant in last two weeks. Brig IC Administration of AICTS , a heart surgeon himself said that the previous organ on 30 Jan 23 was brought by AICTS team from Indore and highlighted the close coordination between various agencies within the Armed Forces to accomplish such missions.