Bone Donation After Death or in Comatosed Individuals

Dr. Virendra Nath Gaur,
Orthopaedic Surgeon, Delhi

Bones constitute a very important role in our body. Bones are involved in haemopoiesis i.e. formation of blood constituents, Gives attachments to muscles and tendons aiding in locomotion, besides playing an important part in maintenance of posture, length and shape of body esp. limbs. After brain death the various organs viz heart, lings, kidney, liver, intestines, tendons etc. can be donated within specified time period, a cardiac death has little time for organ donation, bones can be donated in both modes of death and upto 24 hours in cardiac cases.

WHEN & WHY do one needs bone donation?
Most of us know that the treatment of bone tumour involves excision of the area of bone involved in tumour followed by irradiation or chemotherapy as the case be. These are mutilating surgeries leave lot of disfigurement , shortening limb length discrepancy and making a subject incompatible with normal life while he or she still has ample years to live on.

Similarly, war casualties or high energy traffic accidents also leave many otherwise healthy individuals crippled as most of the part of body esp. limbs have to be sacrificed in order to save the life.

HOW to SUBSTITUTE bone defects?
The best method of bone replacement by patient's own bone but there is limitation to it as there are very few places in our body where bone can be utilized for substitution or grafting purposes. Bone grafting from hip bone or fibula or tibia or olecranon are well known, Massive bone loss cannot be compensated by such procedures as very little bone can be utilized for this purpose from patient's own body.

Intractable infections in bone for various reasons also warrants removal of diseased bone warranting bone substitution.

HOW to COMPENSATE for such massive deficit (of bone) is the pertinent question to be answered. The answer is donation of bone ( (Deh Dan),which means utilization of human body even after death or in comatosed brain dead individuals who have pledged their body for such purposes.

देहदान remains a very pious occasion where a human being remains a utility even after his or her death. The bones in such people who have pledged their body for organ donation can be taken irradiated, preserved in deep fridge and used for ultimate cause for human race. The shape and form of body used for donations can be restored after donation of bone or organs by attaching artificial bones at site of defect, so no obvious disfigurement and last rites can be performed per the religious beliefs.

This needs huge movement and massive public awakening on various media platforms for people to get conversant with this process and so that relatives do come forward for organ /bone donation.

All India Institute of Medical sciences Delhi is very actively working in this line in tandem with दधीचि देह दान समिति.