Guru Tegh Bahadur (GTB) hospital will soon be the first state-run hospital in Delhi to have a bone bank. Top officials said the bank is already in place and health minister Satyendar Jain inaugurated it on Saturday. Bone banks collect grafts from cadaver donors. These are used for reconstruction of large defects caused by cancer, infection or injury. Every year, lakhs of people lose their limb due to cancer, infection or injury. While autologous bone (bone taken out from the patient’s body) is ideal for grafting, it is often not available sufficiently.
Dr Anil Jain, director professor and head of orthopedic surgery at GTB hospital said they are hopeful that donations received at their blood bank will be able to suffice the need of patients visiting them at least. “Countrywide, there are lakhs of people requiring bone graft. To fulfil the demand, we need increased awareness about it and more hospitals to establish similar bone banks,” he added.
The doctors say while donation of organs such as heart, liver and kidneys in case of brain death have picked up, there are still fewer instances of bone donations. Bones are easier to handle than other donated organs, but traditions and religious beliefs stand in the way of donations. Unlike the heart and the kidneys that have to harvested within 6-8 hours of brain death, bones can be removed within 24 hours, and preserved for more than 20 years at -80 degrees Celsius. Also, one bone graft can be used to treat more than 15 persons, say experts. AIIMS also has a bone bank. – TOI