To help treat burn victims in and around Manipal, Rotary Club of Manipal Town, RID 3182, has recently set up the Rotary MAHE Skin Bank at the Kasturba Hospital at a total cost of $113,317 (₹80.45 lakh). It is a global grant endeavour executed in association with RCs Central Chester County, Western Henrico County, Richmond, Bon Air and South Richmond from the US, and TRF. IPDG Abhinandan Shetty had also approved substantial funds from the DDF for the project.
The Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) has provided the space for the laboratory at the hospital. The skin bank had a soft launch in Aug 2019 with Pro-Chancellor of Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) Dr H S Ballal inaugurating its operations. He, along with Dr Ramdas M Pai, Chancellor, MAHE; Vice Chancellor Vinod H Bhat, contributed $35,000 to TRF to set up an Endowment Fund for the skin bank. All three of them are honorary members of RC Manipal Town.
RID Kamal Sanghvi and TRF Trustee Gulam Vahanvaty had also visited the centre and appreciated the club members for setting up the skin bank in Manipal.
Dr Sreekumar, Professor and HOD of Plastic Surgery at the Kasturba Hospital and the Director of the skin bank, said that currently, 25 donors have registered with the bank. “The skin of donors will be retrieved within six hours of their death. It will then be processed and can be stored for five years,” he explained. Patients with over 40 per cent burns (third-degree burns) are at a high risk of acquiring fatal infections since the skin would have been burnt to an extent where it cannot heal. The skin taken from donors can be used to temporarily cover the burnt area. Project Coordinator Dr Sesappa A Rai, added that the skin and blood do not have to be compatible. Anyone above 17 years can donate their skin and the retrieval process is similar to that of eye donation.
Dr Sreekumar and his team had earlier undergone special training at a skin bank in Mumbai to understand the process in depth.