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Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2

Untimely and tragic deaths of Swaran Singh from Bharpurgarh village in Amloh, Punjab, and Shanti Devi from Solan, Himachal Pradesh, are extremely difficult to reconcile with for their families.

Amid their immense grief, both families find some consolation in knowing that the death of their dear ones gave precious gift of life to some.

The decision impacted eight lives with donation of liver, kidneys and corneas at the PGI.

It was the fateful day of May 29 when Swaran Singh, 42, got critically injured after falling from a motorcycle. He sustained serious head injuries and fell unconscious. Initially, he was admitted to the Civil Hospital, Khanna. The family rushed him to the PGI on May 30. Swaran could not be revived and declared brain dead on the night of May 31.

When it became clear that Swaran would not survive his head injuries, Navdeep Bansal, transplant coordinator at the PGI, approached Daljit Kaur, wife of deceased Swaran Singh, to request if she could consider organ donation.

Daljit, along with her son Harman Singh, showcased immense grit and consented for organ donation.

“There are no words to describe someone being in our position. I was thinking if we could save someone else from going through this, then let’s do it. At least, some other family will be saved from the trauma that we are facing today,” said Daljit.

Following the family’s consent, transplant surgeons retrieved liver, kidneys and corneas from the donor, Swaran Singh, which on transplantation gave new lease of life to three terminally ill patients battling for life and gave the gift of sight to two others, thereby, helping five lives in all.

The PGI witnessed equally magnanimous gesture from the family of Shanti Devi, 63, from Solan, Himachal Pradesh, when they consented for organ donation which resulted in saving the life of one patient suffering from end-stage renal failure. The corneas of the deceased will be used for another two patients at the PGI, thereby giving them sight and impacting their lives.

The day of May 31 started as usual for Shanti Devi, but it ended with a tragedy. Shanti Devi, who was riding pillion on a scooter with her son Sunil, suddenly fell from the vehicle and received fatal head injuries.

Seeing no improvement at the local hospital where Shanti Devi was admitted initially, the family immediately brought her to the PGI on that day itself without losing any time. However, the destiny had some other plan as Shanti finally succumbed to her injuries on June 1.

The mishaps

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Map: Australia

People are marching in the streets demanding better care for older Australians in aged care homes after increasing media reports of neglect, abuse and negligence.

If we want to improve the situation for residents, we need more registered nurses in aged care homes. When registered nurses are on duty, residents have better health outcomes, a higher quality of life and fewer hospital admissions.

When I worked as a critical care nurse in hospitals, there was a one-to-one ratio of registered nurses to patients. Some days were busy, others were not. However, because society values "saving lives", legislation ensures every intensive care unit is well staffed.

There are also mandated ratios in childcare centres because society values the safety and welfare of children. Yet we don't take the same approach when it comes to aged care homes.

Is this because we don't value older people?

'Flexibility' not the answer

The 2011 Productivity Commission Report Caring for Older Australians described staffing ratios as "a fairly blunt instrument for ensuring quality care because of the heterogeneous and ever-changing care needs of aged care recipients."

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Sex-for-marks girl Monica Osagie speaks

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