Baby lost, eyes live on


A young couple in Nagpur decided to donate the eyes of their infant daughter who passed away on Friday, six days after birth, at the Government Medical College and Hospital here.

“I read about organ and eye donations on a banner at the hospital,” father Deepak Naranje, 30, said at his modest home in Rahate Nagar, a cheek-by-jowl city neighbourhood.

“I was distraught when the doctors told me that my baby would not survive. I was wondering how to inform my wife about it. That’s when I spotted the banner.”

But their joy was short-lived. After the baby was born sick and did not cry at all after delivery, she was shifted to the ICU. The doctors then told Deepak she had little chance of survival.

After that, Deepak wondered if her organs and eyes could be of use. The doctors informed him that the baby’s organs were yet to develop but the eyes could be donated. “I decided to go for it,” Deepak said.

“It’s an inspiring example since the man volunteered for it. The couple have done a great service,” said Dr Ravi Wankhede, who campaigns for organ donations.

It’s only the second case of an infant donation at the hospital’s eye bank, in-charge and ophthalmology associate professor Dr Mona Deshmukh said.

“We get five to six donors every day at our eye bank under the corneal retrieval programme, but rarely do we get an infant’s cornea. It’s difficult to convince relatives even in accident or other sudden-death cases to donate their (adult) patients’ eyes,” Deshmukh said.

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