July 04, 2020

PMCH to start eye bank by May

Patna: Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) is gearing up to set up an eye bank to start corneal transplants at the hospital.

The hospital has constituted a team of three trained doctors who would be involved in the extraction of cornea.

It has also arranged for an ambulance which would be used for the eye bank and would run 24×7. Doctors associated with the eye bank would use the ambulance to reach the donor’s place so that the cornea could be extracted on time.

Corneal extraction should be done within six hours of death, so timing is crucial to reach the donor’s place. Even the extracted cornea could not be used after a certain time. The extracted cornea could be kept for seven days using different mediums.

Patna Medical College principal Vijay Kumar Gupta said the eye bank facilities would be functional by May. “The Bihar Medical Services and Infrastructure Corporation Limited (BMSICL) is supposed to finish the process of purchasing necessary equipment for the eye bank by April-end, including deep freezer in which the extracted cornea would be preserved, so that we can start the facility by May. We have also got an ambulance which would have doctors and it would be sent to the donor’s place for the extraction of cornea,” said Gupta.

He added that a list of paramedics had been sent to the health department who has to undergo training for the eye bank and corneal transplant.

“We are thinking of getting our paramedics trained from IGIMS where corneal transplant is already being done,” added Gupta.

Though an eye bank was functional at PMCH on paper since 1986, it remained a non-starter. The authorities in the past has claimed lack of equipment, manpower and other reasons for failing to have a fully functional eye bank.

Among government facilities, only IGIMS has an eye bank and it has successfully conducted around 200 corneal transplants so far.

A senior doctor at PMCH said if the eye bank becomes functional at PMCH, it would be nothing less than a boon for poor patients who were in the need for corneal transplant.

“PMCH has earlier failed to conserve donated eyes of one of its retired doctors in 2014. The family members of the former head of PMCH plastic surgery department, Shruti Lall Mandal, had contacted the hospital after his death with a request to preserve his body and eyes as his last wish. Though the hospital administration agreed to preserve Mandal’s body, it expressed inability to do the same with his eyes because the eye bank was not functioning,” said the doctor.

In other development, PMCH also formed a brain death declaration committeewhich is required for declaring patients brain dead.

A brain dead person is someone whose brain has stopped working and s/hewon’t survive without a life-support system. A patient can be declaredbrain dead only after the nod of the brain death declaration committee.“The brain death declaration committee which we have formed yesterdaycomprise superintendent, eye surgeon, general surgeon, anaesthetists amongother experts. Formation of the brain death declaration committee is a bigstep in starting the organ transplant surgeries in the hospital becausecadaveric transplant (organs extracted from a cadaver or a dead patient) isnot always possible so we could rely on brain dead patients for conductingorgan transplant surgeries when the transplant surgeries would be startedin future,â€? added Gupta.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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