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Saturday, February 2, 2008

About Organ Donation.

What is organ donation?
It means that a person pledges during his lifetime that after death, organs from his/her body can be used for transplantation to help terminally ill patients and giving them a new lease of life.
There are two ways of Organ donation:
  • Living related donors:- only immediate blood relations (brother, sister, parents & children) can donate as per the Transplantation of Human Organ Act 1994. Living donor can donate only few organs, one kidney (as one kidney is capable of maintaining the body functions), a portion of pancreas (as half of the pancreas is adequate for sustaining pancreatic functions) and part of the liver (as the few segments that are donated will regenerate after a period of time) can be donated.

  • Cadaver Organ donor:- can donate all organs after brain death.
What organs and Tissues can be donated?
The major donor organs and tissues are heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, kidneys, eyes, heart valves, skin, bones, bone marrow, connective tissues, middle ear, blood vessels. Therefore one donor can possibly give gift of life to many terminally ill patients who would not survive otherwise.
What is brain death?
It is the irreversible and permanent cessation of all brain functions. Brain can no longer send messages to the body to perform vital functions like breathing, sensation, obeying commands etc. Such persons are kept on artificial support (ventilation) to maintain oxygenation of organs so that the organs are in healthy condition until they are removed. Most cases of brain death are the end result of head injuries, brain tumours patients from Intensive care units. Organs of such patients can be transplanted in organ failure patients to provide them a new lease of life.
How is brain death diagnosed?
It is done by independent advice of a team of doctors whose qualification and experience is accepted by the hospital for such purposes. Doctors carry out a set of tests to confirm brain death.
The two sets of tests are carried out at the interval of at least 6-12 hrs. Legal time of death is the time at which the second set of test is carried out. Once declared brain dead, further artificial support is futile and actually is emotional and financial trauma. At this time a decision for organ donation should be taken at the earliest.
How quickly should the organs be donated?
Healthy organs should be transplanted as soon as possible after brain death from the donor to the recipient.
Who can be a Donor?
Anyone, regardless of age, race or gender can become an organ and tissue donor. If he/she is under the age of 18 years, then the consent of parent or legal guardian is essential. Medical suitability for donation is determined at the time of death.
Who can give consent for organ donation after brain death?
Donors who have during their lifetime consented for organ donation in writing in the presence of two witnesses (at least one of whom is a near relative,) should carry their donor cards with them and also express their wishes to their near and dear ones. In case of no such consent or donor pledge form was filled before death, then the authority to give consent for organ donation lies with the person lawfully in possession of the dead body.
Which terminal diseases can be cured by transplant?
Here are some terminal diseases which can be cured by the transplantation:-
heart failure
terminal lung illnesses
kidney failure
liver failure
Heart valve
valvular disease
severe burns

Who will receive your organ?
Your vital organs will be transplanted into those individuals who need them most urgently. Gifts of life (Organs) are matched to recipients on the basis of medical suitability, urgency of transplant, duration on the waiting list and geographical location.

Is there any charge to my family for organ donation?
No, there is no charge nor payment for organ/tissues used in transplantations. Organ donation is a true gift.

Does organ / tissue removal affect cremation / burial arrangements or disfigure the body?
No. The removal or organs or tissues will not interfere with customary funeral or burial arrangements. The appearance of the body is not altered. A highly skilled surgical transplant team removes the organs and tissues which can be transplanted in other patients. Surgeons stitch up the body carefully, hence no disfigurement occurs. The body can be viewed as in any case of death and funeral arrangements need not be delayed.

Will the doctor ask permission of donation from my family, once the signed donor card is found?
Yes. Doctor will always ask the permission of organ donation from the family if your signed card is sighted. Therefore, it is important that you discuss your decision with family members and loved ones so that it will be easier for them to follow through with your wishes. 
What is legal position on organs donations?
It is legal by law. The government of India has enacted the "transplantation of human organs act 1994" in Feb. 1995, which has allowed organ donation and legalised brain death.

Is it permissible to sell human organs?
No, "The Transplantation of Human Organs Act 1994" prohibits the sale of human organs and tissues. Violators are subject to fines and imprisonment.

Can organs be removed after death at home?
No. It can only be removed when a person is brain dead in the hospital and is immediately put on a ventilator and other life support systems. After death at home, only eyes and tissues can be removed.
Via: http://aiims.aiims.ac.in/aiims/orbo

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