Only skin bank in state crippled by donor shortage

Only skin bank in state  crippled by donor shortage

The only skin bank in the state runs low on skin donation.

Set up two years ago at the state-run Victoria Hospital, the facility faces a shortage of skin.

“We do not have sufficient skin donations to meet the demand that arises from across the state,” said Dr Yogishwarappa C N, professor and head of the department of plastic surgery and burns, Victoria Hospital.

He said the hospital receives at least three to four cases of third-degree burns (affecting deeper tissues), a day which requires cadaveric skin (those extracted from fresh cadavers for grafting on the burn). It has completed 78 cadaveric skin grafts.

Apart from the in-house demand, the hospital also gets demand from other hospitals such as St John’s Hospital, Ramaiah Hospital and Manipal Hospital in the city and the state.

“We have a dearth of skin banks in the country. The skin banks in the states even run out of skin when there is a demand,” said Dr Norman Guido, who headed the department of plastic surgery at St John’s Hospital.

Every patient with severe burns needs skin to stay alive. If they do not get skin within three weeks, the chances of survival are bleak, said Dr Guido.

Dr Yogishwarappa said skin has to be taken from other skin banks in Mumbai or Pune when there is a shortage, which involves cost, transportation, logistics among others.

According to doctors, the awareness about skin donation is low in the country. There is still no system where a database for all the requirements in the country is saved. The networking between the skin banks is yet to be established to enable a faster exchange of information, said Dr Yogishwarappa.

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