A seminar was held on blood and organ transplants to review the strategy for future and after the presentations by Sally Johnson, James Neuberger and Paul Murphy the delegates addressed some key strategy areas in workshops.
Dr Alapna Rathor, a medical practitioner and a representative from Hindu Council UK was in a workshop that explored three issues:
1. Changing behaviour and culture
2. Maximising the pool
3. Increasing the number of Donors
And in particular Dr Rathor was asked why is it that Hindus are still not registering for donor cards in high enough numbers.
Dr Rathor said that there are still some cultural and religious barriers but with more education they can easily be over-ridden. The awareness of the entire system is low though temples do form time to time run clinics and allow blood donor ambulances to encourage devotees to give blood at least even fi they feel uncomfortable about donating organs.
Other points that came up was education in schools about organ donation, training of staff on how best to approach families and that the system of consent was a major drawback where two signatures from the Donor and the family next of kin would make the system more workable.
Anil Bhanot OBE had been working on this area prior to me and he said that people should not be frightened of donating any body parts from the Hindu religious point of view. He had earlier given extensive advice on this through a very comprehensive debate with the Hindu community that in the Gita Bhagwan Krishna says that after death the body is cast off like old worn out clothes and the soul travels further. The body is taken from the five elements Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Atmosphere (Akash), and then we return the body to these elements. If a part of the body can be used by any living being then you are actually doing a Yagya of the highest order (Yagya: selfless sacrifice for others benefit). Even one of our ancient Rishis gave a body part to help another and our Rishis are the founders of our Dharma.
Anil Bhanot said that Hindus ought not be afraid on donating, their soul will accumulate a greater Punya if they helped others but it must be after they do not have any use of the organ, they must not give an organ when they need it for their survival as that would be to show disrespect to the Creator Brahma.
Please also visit the Organ and Blood Transplant newsletter here:
Dr Alpana Rathor
Hindu Council UK