Hyderabad: Can a mentally-challenged person donate his organs? This is the debate in the medical circles as relatives of a mentally-challenged person who want to help another sibling are finding it difficult to go through with the donation.
In a recent case, it was found that kidney donation within siblings required the consent of the donor, but the donor’s mentally-challenged condition led to concerns which halted the donation. The medical and health department says the donor has to be fully aware and in complete understanding of organ donation before he/she opts for it.
A senior government officer in the health department said, “These are very rare cases, but when they do come before the organ donation committee it is not possible to allow live donations. A mentally-challenged person can’t give an informed consent to donate his own organ even if it is meant for a sibling or a close family member. Otherwise too, a person above 18 years can’t have a consent taken from parents. Hence such cases are a clear no.”
The Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act 1994 states that a patient must be competent, well-informed and able to voluntarily donate an organ. Dr K. K. Aggarwal, senior member of Indian Medical Association, said, “All aspects required for an informed consent are not met in a case relating to an mentally disabled person. Due to this reason, it is not possible to take organs from them in a live donation.”
In case of brain-dead patients, the consent of relatives is required. Dr B. Raju, critical care and emergency specialist, said, “Organ donation is still a problem in the country. People don’t willingly come forward. But the new amendment in Organ Transplant Act 2014 has made it compulsory for doctors to follow mandatory procedures for organ donation. This means that once a person is declared dead, then option has to be given to kin for corneal donation. In case a person is declared brain-dead, the kin have to be given the option of donating all body organs.”