Organ Donation After Death
Advance in medical science now make it possible to replace a variety of mal-functioning human organs. For instance, since 1954 thousand of kidney transplants have taken place. Techniques for transplanting kidneys, corneas, liver, pancreas, heart, bone and others tissues are currently well advanced.
They are donated by individuals like yourself with the donating going into effect at the time of death.
Yes. Many patients will die while waiting for a donated organ. A donated organ, successfully transplanted, is literally the gift of life-your gift of life.
Simply sign an organ donor card in the presence of two witnesses who also sign. Then carry the card with you at all times. You will note that the card offers several options:
- indicates that you contribute any needed part of body.
- restricts the donation to the organs you specify.
- gives your entire body for anatomical study.
Yes. Anyone 18years of age or above and of sound mind may become a donor by signing the card. An individual under 18years of age may become a donor if their parent or a legal guardian gives consent.
Yes. Simply tear up the card. Nothing else is necessary.
For purpose of transplantation, organs are removed only after brain death has occurred. According to the transplantation of Human Organ Act, 1994 a person is pronounced brain dead only after independent evaluation by four different physicians.
No. Your donor card is a kind of “pocket will” and is all you need. But obviously it’s important to carry the card and also inform your family and physician to ensure their co-operation.
Yes, since by definition a brain-dead individual is on ‘life’ support in an intensive care unit. The eyes, however, can be removed for up to six hours after the heart stops breathing and hence this could even be done if the individual dies at home.
No. The cost required for maintaining the donor will be borne by the recipient’s family or by the hospital from the time the consent fro organ donation is given.
No. Your signed and witnessed donor cards is all that is needed.
No. The testes done by the experts leave no possible doubts about the diagnosis of brain death and hence there is no question of survival of the individual.
No. The name and address of the recipient is not given to the donor’s family and vice versa.
No. Removal of organs or tissues authorized by a donor will not interfere with customary funeral or burial arrangements. These remain the responsibility of relatives. If a person wills his body to a medical center for anatomical study, arrangements must be made in advance with the particular medical center.
HIV and cancer (except localized cancer of the brain) normally exclude people from donating organs. Otherwise, the organs are evaluated at the time of death.
As the problem of organ rejection comes under better control and as techniques for tissue-typing and organ preservation are improved, kidney and another transplant will become increasingly feasible.
Moral leaders the world over favor such donations as expressions of the highest humanitarian ideals. The gift of an organ essential to the life of another human being is consistent with principles of religious and ethical systems over whelming held.
Acquaint others with the donor card program. The more donors available, the more this new and important medical advance can be used for the benefit of mankind
When talking of death, it must be realized that death occurs not only when the heart stops beating but also when the brain is dead. So, there are two types:
- Cardiac / Heart Death
- Brain Death
- Irreversible loss of consciousness (unlike coma where consciousness can be regained)
- Loss of brain-stem reflexes
- Absence of respiration
- Flat EEG
- Obvious cause of coma
- Head injury
- Brain Hemorrhage
No. Diagnosis of brain death is made only after 4 physicians have examined the patient. All the tests required to make diagnosis of brain death have to be repeated 6 hours after the initial tests.
- Supporting a Brain-stem Dead patient on life support system until heart stops would mean waste of manpower, money and ICU bed which could be used to save life of a critically ill person.
- If the family wishes, or if the person had expressed a desire during life (by signing an Organ Donor Card), his/her organs & tissues could be removed to enhance &/or sustain life of many who need them.
Organ Donation: KIDNEYS, PANCREAS, INTESTINE, LIVER, HEART, LUNGS Tissue Donation: CORNEAS, SKIN, BONE MARROW, HEART VALVES, MIDDLE EAR, TENDON.
The Human Organ Transplant Act – 1994, Legalized brain death and removal of organs for therapeutic/ treatment purposes & Banned organ trade from living unrelated donors.
- There is a lack of awareness even among health professionals. Even when there is an awareness, the health professionals who are directly involved in declaring brain death are uncomfortable with the concept & hesitant to explain the same to the families of the deceased.
- Awareness about brain death & organ donation amongst the lay population is abysmal. With the result, most families are exposed to the idea for the first time when a loved one is declared brain dead and find it difficult to give consent.
- Patients waiting for transplant are often unaware of the option of Cadaver Donor Transplant.
Myth 1: My family will not get to see my body after donation Fact: families are given the opportunity to spend time with their loved ones after the operation, if they wish. Arrangements for viewing the body after donation are the same as after any death. Myth 2: Organ Donation will leave my body disfigured Fact: organs are always removed with the greatest of care and respect for the person. This takes place in a normal operation theater under sterile conditions by a team of specialized doctors. Afterwards, the surgical incision is carefully closed and covered by a dressing in the normal way. The operation is carried out by specialist health care professionals who always ensure that the donor is treated with the utmost respect and dignity. Myth 3: If I donate my organs it will cause delays to my funeral arrangements Fact: yes, there is a possibility. However, given the altruistic nature of this donation, families usually accept this and take it as part of the process of donation. Myth 4: My religion does not support the idea of organ donation Fact: none of the major religions in India object to organ donation and transplantation. If you have any doubts, you should discuss them with your spiritual or religious adviser. Myth 5: It is enough if I have a donor card Fact: no. Just having a donor card is not enough. You need to carry it at all times and also inform your relatives about your wishes so that they honour your wish at the moment of truth. Myth 6: Once I become an organ donor I can never change my mind Fact: you always have the option to change your mind. You can withdraw your registration, tear up your organ donor card and let your family know that you have changed your mind. Myth 7: I am too old to be a donor Fact: in the case of cornea and some other tissue, age does not matter. For other organs, it is the person’s physical condition, not age, which is the deciding factor. Specialist health care professionals decide in each case which organs and tissue are suitable. Organs and tissue from people in their 70s and 80s are transplanted successfully. Myth 8: I cannot be a donor because I have an existing medical condition Fact: having a medical condition does not necessarily prevent a person from becoming an organ or tissue donor. The decision about whether some or all organs or tissue are suitable for transplant is made by a healthcare professional, taking into account your medical history.