21-Month-Old Toddler Becomes ‘Youngest’ Cadaver Donor In Odisha, Saves Two Lives

Bhubaneswar: A 21-month-old toddler boy from Odisha’s Balasore, who was declared brain dead at the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital here on Saturday, saved two lives after his parents decided to donate his organs.

Born in the hospital in July 2022, the child, Pratyush Panigrahi, developed health issues and fell sick intermittently. He had to be brought to the hospital several times and recovered after treatment, Prof. (Dr) Debasmita Rath of the hospital’s Paediatrics department said.

He was again admitted to the hospital about a fortnight ago and was diagnosed with meningitis. The baby was treated in the ICU, but suffered septic shock and was declared brain dead on Saturday, she added.

His parents, Gouri Shankar Panigrahi and Sharmistha Panigrahi, both city-based artistes, then expressed their desire to donate the organs of the baby to help other patients requiring transplant. SUM Hospital authorities passed on the information to State Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (SOTTO), which got in touch with the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO).

While the kidneys were taken to a city-based hospital for another patient needing transplant, the liver of the infant was flown to the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) at New Delhi for a baby awaiting transplantation. A team from AIIMS-Bhubaneswar harvested the liver to be taken to New Delhi while police set up a green corridor for smooth passage to Biju Patnaik International Airport.

Joint director of SOTTO Dr Bibhuti Bhusan Nayak said the wait-list patients were contacted after parents of the kid consented to donate all his vital organs. “Three organs – liver, heart and kidney were selected for retrieval. Although two organs matched with the requirements of the receivers, the heart could not be harvested as it did not match,” he said.

Rachita Sarangi, Acting Medical Superintendent of the hospital, claimed that this was the first time in Odisha that the organs of such a small baby were harvested to help save lives elsewhere.

Sharmistha, the baby’s mother, said though she was heartbroken, she got consolation from the fact that the organs of her child would help another baby to live on.

This is the third time since 2022 that organs from brain-dead patients in the IMS and SUM Hospital had been harvested and taken to other hospitals for transplantation. Organs of two brain-dead patients at SUM Ultimate Medicare had also been flown out of the city within the last year for persons awaiting transplantation.

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