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99 Yatra
Kutchhi Family gifts life to 3
17 December 2005

MUMBAI: While the spotlight was focused on superstar Amitabh Bachchan and his recovery at Bandra’s Lilavati Hospital, another heartwarming drama was unfolding in the same hospital.

A Malad-based couple donated the organs of their 21-year-old son, Bhavin, to three long-suffering patients after he met with an accident. Bhavin was declared ’brain dead’ on the morning Bachchan checked in. Dressed in white, the Kenias are a portrait of dignity as they sit in their Malad home. They are still mourning the loss of Bhavin, but their pain is somewhat mitigated by the ’gift of life’ they have given to three others.

Ramesh and Kanchan Kenia were in Kutch on November 26 when they got a call informing them that their older son Bhavin had met with an accident. A chirpy and ambitious youngster, Bhavin was riding pillion on a bike to IES College in Bandra, where he was pursuing a management degree. An unfortunate collision with a passing truck left him grievously injured. The unconscious Bhavin was rushed by his classmates to Lilavati Hospital. "We rushed back to Mumbai, but it was too late. Doctors told us that Bhavin was ’brain dead’," recalls Ramesh. That’s when their moral dilemma began. "It was difficult for the family to accept the doctors’ verdict that Bhavin was alive only because he was supported by a machine," recalls Dr A H Kenia, a homoeopath who is a family friend.

Bhavin’s accident had damaged his brain (caused contusions) although his other organs were fully functional. Doctors said he had no chance of survival if he was taken off the ventilator. The family struggled with the decision for two days, praying for their son’s fate to change. "It was a painful decision, especially since our Jain dharma tells us to cremate our dead," said Kanchan.

A traditional family, where the elders would generally make the decision, the Kenias, however, paid heed to their younger son Pravin’s rationale. "He told us that we could have three Bhavins for the one we had lost," says an emotional Kanchan. Bhavin himself had been an altruist, helping many when he was around and the couple says he has now left his helping nature behind even in death.

Doctors, meanwhile, certified that Bhavin’s organs were chealthy’ and routed the donations to needy patients through the zonal transplant coordination committee. "Once a patient is declared brain dead, the treating doctors check on the condition of his organs and their functions," said Dr Bharat Shah, consultant nephrologist at Bandra’s Lilavati Hospital. "The organs are then matched for appropriate donors and routed for transplantation by the ZTCC," added Dr Shah, who transplanted one of Bhavin’s kidneys to a patient who was on Lilavati’s waiting list.

Thanks to his youth, Bhavin’s organs could give life to three others in need. While his liver and one of his kidneys went to patients registered for organ transplants at Jaslok Hospital, his second kidney was used to resuscitate a patient who had had multiple transplants earlier.

The Kenias quote a poem to sum up their deed. "The lives of great men all remind us/That we can make our lives sublime/And departing leave behind/footprints on the sands of time." Bhavin, they feel, has indeed left behind his footprints.

Madhavi Rajadhyaksha
[ Saturday, December 17, 2005 01:26:11 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK ] kutchhis globally , from Mumbai

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