An introduction to Transplanted Organ Procurement Unit of Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences

Transplant Organ Procurement Unit(OPU) is supposed to identify brain deaths happening in different hospitals, to visit the reported cases, to confirm the brain death& finally to talk to the families of the people who are brain dead to convince them for organ donation process. Once Organ Donation Act after brain death was approved in 2001, transplanted organ procurement units were founded in universities of medical sciences by the order of Ministry of Health and Medical Education. In 1989, Imam Khomeini – Peace be upon Him- announced that organ donation through brain death is admissible providing that it is led to the survival of one’s life. This command was approved following the query of health minister of that time, Dr. Iraj Fazel. The legal process & approval of the relevant Act took long until 2001. Once it was approved by Islamic parliament in 2001, all universities of medical sciences in the country were obliged to found transplanted organ procurement unit for brain death cases. In this regard, transplanted organ procurement unit of Shahid Beheshti University was founded in 2001 and commenced its activities too. The main problem is people’s unawareness about brain death concept, difference between deep coma and brain death, its irreversibility and admitting to donate the organs of their beloved who is brain dead. As a result, during the first year, only 5 families consented to donate organs of their beloved. With respect to the need for developing organ donation culture & increasing people’s awareness, transplanted organ procurement unit attempted to extend its plans regarding organ donation & brain death. This institution carried out widespread activities in the field of organ donation culture through the help of media, actors, athletes & clergymen; different reports about organ donations caused by brain death were gathered and educational programs were recorded in I.R.I.Broadcast. Finally this unit succeeded to change the rate of families’ consent from 5 % to 75% and the number of organ donations through brain death changed from 5 cases in 2001 to 216 cases in 2016. Transplanted organ procurement unit of Shahid Beheshti Medical Sciences University is directly handled by the dean of university & Ministry of Health and Medical Education and is not in touch with the receivers of organs. The identified cases of brain death which are led to families’ consent for organ donation will be announced to Ministry of Health and Medical Education and as all the patients waiting for transplanted organ have been registered in database of Ministry of Health and Medical Education, they will be prioritized to receive the required organ depending on their age, blood group and severity of illness & the final receivers of organs will be determined by Ministry of Health and Medical Education. Brain dead people who are moved to transplanted organ procurement unit from other hospitals are examined by 5 specialists who are trustworthy in Health and Medical Education Ministry to confirm brain death phenomenon, these specialists have no contact with transplanted organ procurement units. Once they confirm brain death, final permission is gotten from the family of brain dead person. These specialists are neurologist, neurosurgeon, anesthesiologist, internist and corner. During this period, organ receivers in all over the country are identified & brain dead person is moved to operating room& organs are grafted by surgery team after paying tribute to the dead person, then organs will be sent to their final destinations. The operation is performed in such a way that there is no scar on the skin & it is reformed properly, hence the corpse is not deformed at all. Finally the corpse of organ donor will be moved to their eternal home. During the whole process, about 150 people are involved to save the life of an organ receiver.