Putting an end to the confusion among the doctors over certifying brainstem death which enables for easy organ donation, Kerala government announced a list of 140 doctors who can certify brain death. Only those doctors from the Directorate of Health Services, who are on the list can decide whether a patient is brain-dead or not.
As per a 2011 rule, four doctors need to be present to certify a brain-dead case. The doctor in charge of the hospital, a doctor nominated by a panel and selected by superintendent of hospital as well as the District Medical Officer, a neurologist or a neuro surgeon nominated by a panel of names approved by the superintendent of hospital and DMO and the doctor who treated the person are to jointly decide if a patient is brain-dead.
As this was a long procedure, the department had sought an easier system in order to avoid delays in organ donation.
The new list comes a week after government doctors were unwilling to certify a patient at a private hospital in Kochi braindead. This despite the patientâ€™s family giving consent for organ donation.
â€œThen, we contacted health secretary Rajiv Sadanandan and the state-level officials of the KNOS. It was after the health secretaryâ€™s intervention that a doctor from the taluk hospital North Paravur reached the hospital. Then, all the process got delayed by around seven hours. This had put the family of the deceased person, who were merciful enough to donate the organs of their beloved, in a difficult situation. They had to postpone the rituals and last rites by hours,â€œ The Times of India quoted a doctor from the private hospital.
Following this, a group of doctors and nodal officers at Kerala Network of Organ Sharing (KNOS) conducted a session on brain stem death certification.
Private hospitals in the state have strict guidelines that a brain death should be certified by government doctors. While the 2011 rule of having four doctors present to certify a person brain dead is still applicable, the new list announced by the state government is expected to fast-track the process.