20-month-old toddler youngest cadaver donor, saves 5 lives

Dhanishtha was declared brain dead after falling from a first-floor balcony; her parents decided to donate her organs to save other lives instead of burying her

Twenty-month-old Dhanishtha with her parents. Photo: Twitter

Dhanishtha, a 20-month-old toddler has become the youngest cadaver donor by saving five lives.

Her parents, residents of Rohini in Delhi, had rushed her to Sri Gangaram Hospital after she fell from the balcony of the first floor of their home while playing, on January 8.

Doctors declared Dhanishtha brain dead on January 11. Even though the toddler’s parents Ashish Kumar and Babita were themselves dealing with the pain of her imminent death, they decided to donate their daughter’s organs after meeting parents who lived with the dread of losing their ailing children in the hospital.

“The doctor told us that Dhanishtha’s condition is irreversible as her brain was dead. While her treatment was going on, we met other parents who were extremely worried about organs that were needed to cure their children. As her brain was declared dead, we asked the doctors if our daughter’s organs can be donated to save lives. The doctor said yes,” Ashish told ANI.


“Together, we decided to go for this noble cause to save other children rather than burying/cremating her body. At least, we will have this consolation that she still lives in them,” he added.

Dr DS Rana, the hospital’s chairman called the sacrifice of the parents a “noble act” which should inspire others.

“At 0.26 per million, India has among the lowest rate of organ donation. On average, nearly 5 lakh Indians die every year due to lack of organs,” he said.

Dhanishtha’s heart, liver, both the kidneys and both the corneas were in excellent condition and were harvested to be used in five patients.

While the corneas have been stored, her heart and liver were given to two children and the kidneys to an adult.

“The number of transplant and cadaver availability is very less. Only 20 per cent to 30 per cent are cadaver donors. From a larger perspective, some 20,000 patients are waiting for a liver transplant,” ANI quoted co-Chairman and chief liver transplant surgeon of Sri Gangaram Hospital Dr Manish N Mehta as saying.