By Tensing Rodrigues*
There is a problem we face often in investment – the problem of plenty. Not all face it, I agree but many do. We go on investing throughout our life. The investment grows smartly. And then comes a time, when it is all there in plenty and we find ourselves at the end of the road. Then the question, What do we do with the accumulated wealth? Well, I shall not answer that question because I have a more important question to answer. Whole life we have invested in ourselves and we are nearing the end. Now what to do with the valuable body we have come to have?
There is the story of this ‘mad’ man who announced in the papers that he is going to bury his Mercedes E 63 AMG S in his garden a week later. And the work began; he set labourers to dig a trench big enough for the car. People were all abuzz like bees, condemning the man for his sheer stupidity. When the appointed day came, a huge crowd had gathered in his garden. They saw the car being driven to the edge of the trench. A crane was waiting to lift it and lower into its abode of eternal rest.
As the man walked out of his mansion, the crowd began to jeer. The crane lifted the car. And just as it was about to lower it into its grave the man cried halt and shouted at the crowd to stop howling and said, “You are so furious because I am burying this valuable car in the earth. And you feel nothing when you think of the day when your own valuable body will be cast into the dust. You feel so bad to let this Mercedes go waste. But you feel nothing to let your body go waste. Don’t you realize that your dead body could have been of use to so many unfortunate people?”
Yes, that is the question I would like to face today. Having invested the whole life in ourselves what do we do with our valuable body upon our death? Basically we have two options. One, to let it go waste and two, not to let it go waste.
We can donate the organs for transplant or the corpse for a teaching hospital. But this cannot be done upon our death. It has to be done while we are alive and in proper mind. For organ donation we can register with National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO) which is a national level organization set up under Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. The organs that can be donated are liver, kidney, pancreas, heart, lung and intestine. The tissues that can be donated are, cornea, bone, skin, heart valve, blood vessels, nerves and tendons.
To be a donor, one has to express one’s wish in the authorized organ and tissue donation form (Form-7 as per THOA); one may pledge to donate the organs by signing up on the website www.notto.nic.in. After the registration a card is issued, which is valid across the country. But just registration does not make donation possible. A hospital close enough to you should have the facility for transplant because the organs have to be harvested within hours of death. At present GMC does only ‘related live kidney’ transplants, viz. transplant from a living relative of the receiving patient. But I was told that occasional transplants from unrelated donors happen in Manipal Hospital.
Nevertheless it is important to get registered with NOTTO and carry the card always; if by chance any emergency lands us in a hospital in a big city, it may be of use. Also we need to keep in touch with the Nephrology Dept. at GMC for latest updates. For eye donation it is better to be registered with the local Eye Bank; there is an office just near the OPD pharmacies in GMC.
To donate one’s whole body for use of medical students, it is necessary to get in touch with the Anatomy Dept. of GMC. One needs to submit to them a will on a stamped paper donating the body. As far as I know, no religion objects to donation of organs or whole body. In fact it is considered as the highest act of charity worthy of punnea or as Bible says “There is no greater love …”. But in all this it is necessary to carry one’s family along; for it is they who have to let your investment fructify. Organ or whole body donation, we do not know what will be possible when the day arrives; it is better to keep our wish recorded for both. So that our life’s most valuable investment serves its
*The author is an investment consultant. Readers can send their comments and queries to email@example.com