Organ Donation - The 'Ultimate' Gift

by Savitha C Muppala on  August 7, 2010 at 5:35 PM Health In Focus   - G J E 4
Organ Donor Awareness Week - August 8th - 14th

Organ donation, undoubtedly the greatest form of human service, is the opportunity to breathe life into another by donating healthy organs after death. It is a sacred act of perpetuating life, by leaving a part of ourselves in another, so that he or she lives even though we are gone.

To estimate the everlasting impact of organ donation, it is important to know that organs and tissues from one person is enough to give life to almost 10 people.  Eye donation can benefit two people with the power of vision, to enjoy this beautiful world.

A, B, C of Organ Donation

Organ donation, also known as cadaver organ donation or deceased organ donation involves the use of healthy organs and tissues from a donor after death.  The modus operandi of organ donation involves the removal of healthy organs from brain dead individuals, after the prior consent of the donors or their families, to be transplanted to those in need. 

It is also possible to donate organs when alive, especially to kith and kin or friends to save their life, called as living-related organ donation. In this context, we have heard of many cases where friends and relatives have donated one of their kidneys to save the life of a dear one.

Most of the organ donations occur in intensive care units, especially from brain dead patients, on life support systems. Heart, lungs, kidneys, pancreas and liver are the internal organs which can be used for transplants. Body tissues such as valves, bone, skin, corneas are a boon to patients to improve their quality of life. Yet, tissue donors outnumber organ donors, as tissues can be removed even 24 hours after death.

What is important to understand is, it does not matter whether potential donors have been on medication, because anybody from 12 months to 90 years can donate organs, although minors need formal permission from their parents or guardian to donate their organs. 

Why Donate Organs?

Less than 1% of people experience death in a manner to make organ donation medically viable.

Not surprising, there is always a huge imbalance between demand for organs and its supply. Due to the dearth of organs, many people continue to be on waiting lists for organs and could spend a decade battling the condition. For instance, patients suffering kidney failure need to be on the dialysis machine for more than 8 hours on a single day while those needing lung or heart transplant may just be 'living-dead', waiting endlessly for a new lease of life.

Awareness is Key

The Organ Donor Awareness week is a crucial step to create awareness about the merits of organ donation by removing the element of doubt and concern among the public regarding the procedure. Intensive campaigns to educate the public has seen the light of day with respect to eye and blood donation which now have a considerable number of people coming forward to donate.

Finally, the knowledge that just one organ and tissue donor can potentially save the life or improve its quality for 10 others, should be enough motivation to sign up for this noble act. With just this single act, donors may realize the abiding dream of 'leaving footprints on the sands of time and impression in peoples' hearts' long after they are gone, allowing their organs to speak for what they stood for during the living years!

"Don't think of organ donations as giving up part of yourself to keep a total stranger alive.  It's really a total stranger giving up almost all of themselves to keep part of you alive."- Anonymous

To download an Organ Donor card visit.

Source: Medindia

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