Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 November 2019

Proud parents say daughter will 'live on' after organ donation

The family of Dervisri Tavva were determined to offer the gift of life to others after her tragic death

 Arunakumar Tavva said his daughter's purpose in life was to help others. Victor Besa / The National 
 Arunakumar Tavva said his daughter's purpose in life was to help others. Victor Besa / The National 

A pair of devoted parents say their daughter's "soul will live on" after they agreed to donate her organs to give fresh hope to other families.

Dervisri Tavva was rushed to hospital on July 3, just a day after her sixth birthday, wheezing and unable to breath.

The battling youngster had been diagnosed with severe pulmonary hypertension - a form of high blood pressure affecting the arteries of the lungs - months earlier, with doctors warning it could claim her life at any moment.

Despite the tireless efforts of medical staff at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, she was declared brain dead. She died in hospital on July 14.

Even in their darkest hour, her family found solace in the fact their little "angel" could leave behind a lasting legacy.

“Our angel had come to our lives for a purpose and this was her purpose, to save the lives of others,” said her father, Arunakumar Tavva, 37, told The National.

“This was the happiest moment in our lives. The moment we knew that her soul would live on through others. If years later, I look back at my life, this would be my proudest moment.

“We were told that she could die at any moment but we thought we had more time with her. The doctors at SKMC tried their best but it was her time.

“They did so many tests but she was gone already. I am glad I was there. We didn’t expect to lose her but because of God’s grace, I was there for her birth and I was there for her death.”

Poignant reminders of a "beautiful daughter" are all around the family home in Abu Dhabi.

Dervisri's birthday decorations are still hanging on the wall. Her stuffed toys are packed up in a corner along with a post-it note congratulating her for eating all her pancakes at lunch.

Her mother will never forget the birthday celebration they had for her just mere hours before she fell ill.

“I remember every moment and second of her life but that last thing I remember was her birthday,” Keerti Pusarla, 30, said.

“We’ve buried our daughter and she is no longer with us but her soul lives on.”

Her kidneys provided a lifeline to transplant patients at SKMC and in Saudi Arabia. It was SKMC’s first transplant carried out with an organ sourced from a patient at the hospital.

“We simply didn’t know about it (organ donation) but when doctors explained it to me at first, I immediately agreed,” said Mr Tavva.

“They kept asking us if we were sure of our decision and I kept telling them that I was positive. There is nothing more noble or selfless to do in our entire lives that this. In all the grief and pain we were feeling over losing our beautiful daughter, this gave us so much happiness. I can’t begin to describe it.

“People should do something good and selfless to society and organ donation is a selfless act that saves lives. After you die, your organs are of no use to you but there are thousands of people that need them.”

The family's two-bedroom apartment is quiet and sombre without Dervisri’s chatter and laughter. Her drawings have been taken down “but at least she gave someone else life and her soul lives on,” said her mother.

New laws permitting organ donation in the UAE have already saved the lives of dozens of people.

An issue over the legal definition of death meant transplants were previously restricted to organs taken from living donors and usually involved kidney operations.

A breakthrough came in March, 2017, when authorities agreed to a legislation framework that allowed transplants from deceased donors.

A single donor can save up to eight lives, with medics keen to drive up awareness of organ donation.

Details on how people can register as organ donors using their Emirates ID were revealed in January.

A database of donors signed up to the National Program for Organ Transplantation will be available to hospitals to monitor availability of organs in real time.

The Hayat application launched on day three of Arab Health in Dubai, the region’s largest healthcare conference.

Updated: August 29, 2019 07:41 PM

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