World Organ Donor Week

by Savitha C Muppala on  August 8, 2008 at 12:09 PM Health In Focus
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Organ Donation - The Gift of a Lifetime
 World Organ Donor Week
World Organ Donor Week

8 - 14 August 2008

"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

Though, life is unpredictable and ephemeral, yet almost all desire to 'live ever after', even if only as memories. Organ donation, considered the highest form of human service, allows the opportunity to give life and let others live, even though we are gone. Not many may actually know that when a person donates organs and tissues, it can breathe life into nearly 10 people. 'Eye donation' has a doubling effect of benefiting two people with the power of vision, to enjoy the beautiful world.

Organ Donation

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

Organ donations are also possible from living people, especially from kith and kin or friends, called as living-related organ donation. It is not uncommon to hear of friends or relatives donating one of their kidneys to save the life of another friend or a dear one.

Majority of the organ donations take place from patients in intensive care units, especially brain dead patients, on life support systems. Heart, lungs, kidneys, pancreas and liver are the solid 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 to 48 hours after death.

It does not matter whether potential donors have been on medication, because anybody from 12 months to 90 years can become organ donors, although minors are required to seek formal permission from their parents or guardian before they decide to donate their organs. 

Why Donate Organs?

Less than 1% of people experience brain-death in a manner to make solid  internal 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 the new lease of life.

Awareness is Key

Although the infamous 'sale of organs' has cast a cloud of fear and doubt on the subject of organ donation, efforts are underway on the national and international scale to bust the trade of organs. 

The crucial step is to create awareness about the merits of organ donation by removing the element of doubt and concern among the public. In that respect, eye and blood donation has shown marked improvement following intensive campaigns to educate the public.

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!

Those who believe in 'life after death', this surely is the 'way to go'!

Pledge your organs and donate life-TODAY! 

To download an Organ Donor card visit. downloads.asp.

To participate in an online survey about organ donation visit-

Source: Medindia

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