A Rotarian sets an example in organ donation

As many as five ­people have been given a new lease or a ­better ­quality of life thanks to the ­courageous, even though heartbreaking and ­painful decision taken by Rotarian Puneet Mahajan from RC Shimla, D 3080, and his wife Dr Shivani to donate the organs of their 13-year-old son Shashwat.

Shashwat Mahajan, who was the Shimla District under-15 ­champion in table tennis, was declared brain dead in ­January after a short illness. Dr ­Mahajan, a ­general ­surgeon and Professor in ­Surgery at the Indira Gandhi ­Medical College ­Hospital in Shimla, says young Shashwat, along with this mother, had gone to Jammu to spend his winter ­vacation with his grandparents.

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Shashwat with his parents.

“It all happened very fast. On January 11, he ­complained of some ­symptoms, particularly pain in the neck, which ­suggested a brain ­infection or some brain-related ­problem. I asked them to shift him immediately to PGI, Chandigarh.”

He adds that retrospectively, they now ­realise that he had complained of a slight headache and fever two weeks earlier. He was given some medicines and was alright after that. “I also started from Shimla for ­Chandigarh, but as he was being shifted, he got a seizure for which he was treated and it subsided.”

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At the PGI, the doctors pulled out pus from young Shashwat’s brain through a needle. He then had to be put on a ventilator from which he could not come out. Five days later, as he was declared brain dead, Shashwat’s parents decided to donate his organs; both his kidneys and eyes, as well as his liver were donated, and five patients at the PGI in ­Chandigarh have benefited from this admirable decision of his parents.

The Mahajans have an older daughter who is doing an engineering course in Chennai. “Shashwat was very fond of watching football, and had also bagged the best all-rounder award in his school from Class 5 to 8,” added Dr Mahajan.

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