Organ transplantation is one of the greatest medical miracles of the twentieth century, which has improved the lives of hundreds and thousands of people. It has not only made life-saving treatment possible but has also lit some hope for the world.
However, the main issue of concern is the disparity between the huge demand for organs and their poor supply. Organ shortage is a global issue and deceased organ donation is the major sustainable solution.
What is organ donation?
Organ donation is the process of surgically removing an organ or tissue from one person (the organ donor) and placing it into another person (the recipient). It is necessary because the receiver’s organ has failed or has been damaged by disease or injury.
What organs and tissues can be transplanted?
Organs and tissues that can be transplanted include Liver, Kidney, Pancreas, Heart, Lung, Intestine, Cornea, Middle ear, Skin, Bone, Bone marrow, heart valves, and Connective tissue.
Who can be an organ donor?
People of all ages can be potential donors. When a person passes away, he or she will first be evaluated for donor suitability based on their medical history and age. Deceased donors can be divided into two subgroups – donation after brain death (DBD) and donation after cardiac death (DCD). DCD is not done regularly in India due to multiple issues in legality. Most deceased organ donors are brain dead. They have suffered a complete and irreversible loss of all brain function and are clinically and legally dead. Ventilation and medications keep their heart beating and blood flowing to their organs.
Why is it important?
The victims of head injury from road traffic accidents alone, are in enough numbers to meet the demand of potential donors of organs in the country. The total organ donation shortage of the country can be met with if even 5 to 10% of these persons involved in fatal accidents serve as organ donors.
The deceased donor donation rate in India stands is horribly low when compared to the organ donation rate prevalent in other developed countries. Many cultural and religious beliefs influence decision making regarding deceased organ donation. Lack of awareness, religious beliefs and superstitions, and lack of faith in the healthcare system have been believed to be the most important reasons for the family members refusing for giving their consent for organ donation of their close relatives.
How can you initiate to be a donor?
Register with organizations like Organ Receiving and Giving Awareness Network (ORGAN) India, National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO), MOHAN Foundation.