A Spanish tourist died of a stroke while on holiday in India, after which her children granted their mother's wish and donated her organs for transplantation. This decision helped doctors save the lives of 5 people and amazed many local residents. The story of the tourist was published by the newspaper El Faro de Ceuta.
Teresa Fernandez, a retired doctor from Spain, loved to travel and came to India for the fourth time. Literally the day after arriving in Mumbai, the woman had a stroke and fell into a coma. Local doctors contacted Teresa's children, Arturo and Aitana, to report their mother's critical condition. Being also a doctor by profession, Aytana got acquainted with the results of the tests, understood the seriousness of the situation and flew to India with her brother.
“As soon as I saw my mother in bed in the intensive care unit, I realized that she was not will wake up. We played Louis Armstrong songs, classical music, the voices of friends and relatives… But nothing helped,” recalls Aytana.
After 6 days in a coma, Teresa Fernandez died. Her children told the doctors that their mother wanted to donate her organs. She has always expressed a desire to be a donor. Although this was a difficult decision for the children, they nevertheless fulfilled the will of the mother.
Aitana explains: “My mother always said she wanted to be an organ donor. True, the Indian doctors were very surprised when I said this. They found it strange. Although in Spain organ donation is quite normal.” Data from the Spanish National Transplant Organization shows that in 2022 in Spain, 2,196 deaths were organ donors (46.3 cases per million inhabitants), while in India only 552 (0.4 cases per million citizens).
The only thing that made Teresa Fernandez's children fearful was India's reputation as the world's organ-trafficking paradise. Entire networks of traffickers have been uncovered there who, under duress or deception, brought people from Nepal to India to transplant their organs to rich people who can afford to pay for them.
This caused Aitana and Arturo to begin to doubt and distrust the system. “Recipients won't pay for organs, right?” “There's a waiting list and the most urgent cases will be served first, right?” “Organs won't go to the one with the most money, right?” – such questions they asked doctors. After receiving the answers, they nevertheless made a positive decision.
Teresa Fernandez's lungs, liver and kidneys were donated to three Indian patients, her heart to a Lebanese citizen, and her liver to a 54-year-old doctor from Mumbai, according to the National Organ Transplant Organization of India. In total, Teresa extended the life of 5 people.
Aitana proudly declares that the family was even awarded a diploma, because Teresa was the first donor from outside Asia and the second foreigner to donate organs in India. In 2019, a Nepalese citizen became the first international donor in the country.
The Indian press called Teresa a heroine and wrote a lot about this case. In India, almost no one becomes an organ donor, and she was chosen as an example of how important such decisions are. The neurosurgeon who treated the Spaniard, Dr. Sudhir Ambekar, said people should learn from a family that has not hesitated to donate organs to strangers in a foreign country. “They showed how humanism goes beyond geographic boundaries, setting an example for all of us,” said Dr. Ambekar.
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