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Healthy Living

Organ Donation

"DON'T TAKE YOUR ORGANS TO HEAVEN FOR GOD KNOWS THEY ARE NEEDED HERE"

There are few acts in life that are more noble than donating our organs. Donating our organs after we are gone from this world is the closest that we can come to giving life to another individual. Organ donation is a wonderful legacy we can leave behind. The eyes continue to see the wonders of the world and the heart continues to sing a new song. The organs that a single person donates can give a new lease of life to as many as five individuals. Eye donation can give precious sight to two individuals. Instead of getting charred or returning to the dust after death, the organs can breathe life into others. This section will guide you on organ donation procedures.



How to be an organ Donor - FAQs


1. Who can be a Donor?

Anyone from a child to an old person can be a donor. Even if you have had a serious illness in the past you can become a donor.


2. Can people buy or sell organs?

No. The "Transplantation Human Organs Act" prohibits any commercial dealings in organs and makes this a punishable offence.


3. Does organ donation leave the body disfigured?

No. The recovery of organs is carried out by well-trained surgeons with the greatest care and does not disfigure the body or change the way it looks.


4. Are there any religious objections to organ donation?

Most of the religious groups support the concept of organ donation. However, if you have any doubt, you can discuss it with your spiritual or religious leader.




5. How is eye donation different from donation of other organs?

Eyes should be donated within six hours after death. However, to be useful, kidneys have to be harvested within half an hour of death. Both these organs, along with others, can also be retrieved under different circumstances.


6. What are these different circumstances?

In 1968, doctors in Harvard found that deeply comatose patients, who had sustained brain injury, never regained consciousness. Although their heart continued to beat and kept their blood circulation going, these patients were clinically dead. If their breathing support machines were stopped, the heart stopped due to brain death. A new definition of death emerged. As this death was under controlled circumstances (that is, in the intensive care unit of hospitals), it was possible to retrieve some of their organs such as Kidneys, Heart and Liver after their relatives consented. In the West, the transplantation of organs from brain dead patients is an accepted part of medical treatment. The Government of India has now accepted this new definition of death.


7. How do doctors know 'A Brain Dead' patient is really dead?

Two doctors from a panel recommended by the government, who are not involved in the treatment of the patient and also from a different hospital carry out a series of tests to confirm that a patient is "brain stem dead". The standards are very strict and are accepted medically, legally and ethically all over the world.


8. How does brain death occur?

Brain death usually results from a severe brain injury or brain haemorrhage that causes all the brain activity to stop. This can happen after a major road accident or bleeding in the brain due to a stroke.





About the Donor Card


1. What is a 'Donor Card'?

Donor Card is a way of expressing your wishes. It is similar to a will. By signing the Donor Card, you agree to donate your organ.


2. How do I carry the 'Donor Card'?

Keep this card always with you in your purse or wallet. Let your close relatives know your wishes about organ donation.


3. Who else needs to sign my 'Donor Card' and Why?

By law, two witnesses are required to sign your consent form for donation. One of these two has to be a near relative, the second witness can be a friend or another relative.





Role of Transplant Co-ordinators?


The Intensive Care Unit is the scene of innumerable battles between life and death. Life triumphs at times, death at others. The doctors working there have to be ever prepared to deal with grieving families who have a critically injured or a brain dead relative.

The concept of brain death is relatively new. Brain death is extremely traumatic to the family of the patient. There is always the question, "Why did it have to happen to my father or mother or son or daughter?". Feelings of intense grief, anger, despair and frustration run high in the family.

It is during such a situation that a TRANSPLANT CO-ORDINATOR steps in. The Transplant Co-ordinator explains to the family, the meaning of brain death, the tests that are done, the specialists involved, details of what organs can be removed and the fact that something positive can come out of something so negative and tragic.

Transplant Co-ordinator has to convince the family to consent for donation. Without this all-important foundation being laid, there is no question of the transplant being performed. Every family can decide whether to donate or not. The fact that they do have a choice must be explained to them.
The co-ordinator has to be sensitive and compassionate. He must also communicate every detail of the concept of brain death and organ donation. The Transplant Co-ordinator must be determined in obtaining consent.


Source

MOHAN Foundation (Multi-Organ Harvesting Aid Network), Chennai
E-Mail:admin
Click here for more information about MOHAN Foundation.


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