Father of girl in Abu Dhabi whose organs saved three patients says 'her soul lives on'

Arunakumar Tavva urges the public to help others by agreeing to donate their organs when they die

Arunakumar Tavva with a picture of his daughter Devisri, who died of lung disease in 2019, a day before her sixth birthday. Victor Besa / The National
Arunakumar Tavva with a picture of his daughter Devisri, who died of lung disease in 2019, a day before her sixth birthday. Victor Besa / The National

Related: Myths and lack of awareness holding organ donor drive back

Two years after her death, the toys of little Devisri Tavva are still neatly stacked in the living room of her family's home.

Next month, the only child of Indian couple Arunakumar Tavva and Keerti Pusarla would have turned 8.

A balloon with the number six hangs on the wall alongside the other decorations of a birthday party she never got to see.

Devisri died from lung disease a day before her sixth birthday on July 3, 2019, while at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi.

After you die, your organs are of no use to you, but there are thousands of people that need them

Arunakumar Tavva

Her parents say that her soul lives on.

Not only in their own hearts, they said, but through the three patients that her organs were used to save.

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

“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."

Devisri's kidneys went to a seven-year-old Indian boy in Dubai and a 14-year-old Indian boy in Abu Dhabi. Her liver went to a patient in Saudi Arabia.

Mr Tavva and his wife met the Indian boy from Dubai last year.

“We were in tears. I felt my daughter’s presence. I saw her in his eyes when he came running towards us,” said Mr Tavva, from Andhra Pradesh state in eastern India.

The UAE has sought to encourage people to donate their organs, and those of their relatives, when they die.

Only 1 per cent to 2 per cent of the population are eligible organ donors because of strict requirements, but a single donor can save up to eight lives.

“It all depends on how you approach the parents. If healthcare professionals and nurses approach them in the right way then many will agree,” Mr Tavva said.

“We initially didn’t agree, but after the doctors explained to me then we immediately agreed."

He now strongly advocates organ donation.

“People should do something good and selfless for society and organ donation is a selfless act that saves lives," he said.

"After you die, your organs are of no use to you, but there are thousands of people who need them."

Updated: May 28, 2021 12:33 PM

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