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01 Mar 2024, Edition - 3153, Friday

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Serving a purpose… after death

Irshad Ahamed


Awareness on donating organs after death, especially for academic purposes, is on the rise, thanks to cine actor Kamal Haasan.

Inspired by the film star’s decision to donate his cadaver, three employees of Life Insurance Corporation have set an example by signing the formal agreement expressing their willingness to donate their cadavers to the Thanjavur Medical College (TMC) for academic purpose when the whole world was celebrating Valentine’s Day on February 14 in 2006.

“When I told my decision, my four sisters and five brothers opposed it. I, however, convinced them stating that instead of burning the body, which is of no use to anyone, donating it would be of some use to the society,” Dharuma. Saravanan (47), an employee of LIC, said. His mother signed the agreement as the executor, while Kamal Haasan signed as one of the two witnesses.

According to statistics available at the anatomy department of the Thanjavur Medical College, ever since 2000, at least 426 people have so far signed the formal agreement expressing their willingness to donate their cadavers for academic purpose

“Awareness among the public to donate their cadavers is now on the rise. We have so far received 56 bodies till September 2016,” Prof T. Sivagami, Head, Department of Anatomy, said. This included the cadaver of renowned lyricist of yesteryears, Kumbakonam Ramasamy Krishnamurthy.

Ku.Ra. Krishnamurthy, popularly known as Ku.Ra.Ki in the celluloid world, has penned many songs for Tamil movies. His popular hits include Santhana pothigai thendralenum pennal for S.S. Rajendran in Thangarathinam, Nee sollavidil yaar solluvar nilave for Sivaji in Kuravanji.

“Only five per cent of the registered donors honour the agreement. There are practical difficulties in getting the bodies as the move is resisted by their legal heirs, siblings and relatives. The relatives are reluctant to execute the agreement. Though the relatives are duty bound to inform us of the death of the donor, they don’t tell us,” Dr. Sivagami said.

Ironically, none of the doctors and nurses working in Thanjavur Medical College, who know much better than the public, the importance and value of cadaver donation for academic purpose, have  registered their names for donation so far.

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