In India, there are over 150,000 people currently in need of kidney transplants. The wait-list for patients with heart and liver failure is growing all the time as well And each year, thousands of people die while waiting for a transplant, because no suitable donor can be found for them. The need for organ donors has never been greater. It can be hard to think about what's going to happen to your body after you die, let alone donating your organs and tissue. But being an organ donor is a generous and worthwhile decision that can be a lifesaver. All people can be considered as being potential organ and tissue donors after death. However, the presence of active cancer, active HIV, active infection (for example, sepsis) or Intravenous (IV) drug use would absolutely rule out donation. Patients who have Hepatitis C may still donate organs to a patient who also has Hepatitis C. The same is true for Hepatitis B — but this happens in very rare cases. Most cancer patients may donate corneas.
For organ recipients, a transplant often means a second chance at life. Vital organs such as the heart, pancreas, liver, kidneys and lungs can be transplanted to those whose organs are failing. It allows many recipients to return to a normal lifestyle. For others, a cornea or tissue transplant means the ability to see again or the recovery of mobility and freedom from pain.
The act of organ donation has the ability to comfort grieving families. It is always difficult to lose a loved one. Many grieving families of organ donors draw comfort from the fact that their loss may help to save or improve the lives of others. Studies carried out to understand how a family’s heals have shown that the support from family members helps a person to overcome grief. The support of friends and religious and cultural beliefs also help donor families. Most of the donor families agreed to donate organs because they felt that it was the only positive outcome from their loss.
Currently, the following organs can be donated and transplanted:
Doctors will only focus on saving your life — not somebody else's. You'll be seen by a doctor whose specialty most closely matches your illness. Whether you have pledged to donate your organs or not, there will be no difference in the medical treatment given to you. Organ donation can only occur after brain death has been declared by physicians who are not in any way connected with organ retrieval or the transplant teams. The doctor in charge of your care has nothing to do with transplantation.
In many western countries an adult is asked to make a choice if he/she wants to be a donor. In India, this final choice is left to the family. In case of brain death of a person carrying a donor card, the family still needs to approve the donation of organs. Family consent is essential.
No. The family of an organ or tissue donor is never responsible for costs related to donation. Your family will be only charged for the cost of all final efforts to save your life.
A road traffic accident is the most common cause of brain death in India. The victim is taken to the emergency ward and then into ICU. The cost of the treatment during these crucial times is charged to the patient. Once brain death has been certified and the patient’s family has given consent for organ donation, the costs incurred towards organ retrieval do not go to the patient.
The decision to use organs is based on various medical criteria, not age alone. It may be that a few organs are suitable for donation, while others are not. The doctors will decide at the time of death whether a person’s organs and tissues are suitable for transplantation.
A few guidelines with regard to age and organ donation:
The death of a loved one is a very traumatic time for a family, and knowing the wishes of the deceased makes it easier for them to decide about or accept organ donation. If your family is asked for consent, telling them about your decision to be a donor is the best way to ensure that your wishes are carried out.
The Transplantation of Human Organs Act (THOA), 1994, and its Amendment (2011) allow the donation of organ and tissues for therapeutic purpose only. The Act states that it is mandatory that the next of kin (parents, spouse etc) should agree to donate the organs of a brain dead family member. In order for a deceased organ donation to take place, specific forms are filled and signed. The Form 5 of the THOA Rules is the donor card. Forms 6 and 9 are consent forms that the next of kin has to sign before organs/tissues can be retrieved.
No. The Transplantation of Human Organs Act makes it ILLEGAL to buy or sell human organs and tissues. Violators are subject to fines and imprisonment.
You may feel that selling an organ is your only option and that after selling your organ yours debts will be settled and you can start afresh. But studies have shown that those who have sold their organs in exchange of money to lessen their debt have not done well at all.
A registry is an essential part of understanding who and where potential donors are. A registry gives a planner enough information to devise strategies to get more public cooperation and commitment towards organ donation. Having a registry in place allows doctors and transplant coordinators to check if a brain dead person wished to donate and then approaching the family for consent becomes easier. It helps in saving crucial time in the process of organ donation.