World Organ Donation Day observed on August 13 every year is aimed at emphasizing the need of donating vital organs for saving the lives of millions of patients, across the world.
Thanks to the collective efforts by the doctors, government and NGOs, the awareness with regards to organ donation has increased in the last few years, in India. However, in many places’ organ donation remains still a taboo often driven by various myths.
According to a survey published by the Government of India, 5 lakh people die annually due to non-availability of organs. In India, 2,00,000 deaths are caused due to liver disease, heart failures claim 50,000 lives while only 5,000 patients out of 1,50,000 awaiting a kidney transplant can get an organ.
Organ donation will help lakhs of patients suffering from end state organ failure get a new lease of life. There are mainly two types of organ donations – live donation and cadaver donation.
Live donation is done by taking organs from a living, healthy person. Organs that can be transplanted from a healthy person are liver and kidney. This is because donor can survive on one kidney while liver is an incredible organ that grows back to its original size.
Cadaver donation is done by taking organs from a person declared ‘brain dead.’ The main purpose of organ donation day is to educate people about cadaver donation, as organs in a brain-dead person can be kept alive with the help of technology, for next few hours till they get transplanted.
Who Can Donate?
In case of cadaver donation, organs from any person declared ‘brain dead’ can be donated irrespective of the age, gender, religion after getting due consent from the family.
Indian citizens under the age of 18 can donate organs under live donation, only after receiving a nod from the parents or guardians.
People with severe health conditions like heart problems, kidney disease, liver issues, HIV, diabetes, cancer cannot donate organs.
Organs That Can Be Donated
Vital organs like heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, lungs can be transplanted to the patients suffering from end stage organ failure.
In case of natural death, cornea, heart valves, skin and bone can be donated.
Myths And Facts About Organ Donation:
There is not much need for organ donation in India
Not true. In India 300 patients die every day due to organ failure. According to statistics, out of 9.5 million deaths every year in our country, at least one lakh are potential donors. Conversion of brain-dead patients into donors is still moving at a slower pace in India and signing up for organ donation posthumously can save many lives.
Brain Death Patient Can Come Back To Life
Brain death is often misunderstood as coma. These two are different conditions. Under coma, a patient is not brain dead and it is a reversible condition. In brain death, the brain stem at the base of the brain stops functioning causing death. Eventually, the patient’s heart will stop functioning.
Older People Cannot Donate Organs
There is no age limit to donate organs. Doctors go by strict medical standards while assessing the health condition of the donor and will not consider the age.
If I Am An Organ Donor, The Doctor May Not Focus On Saving My Life
This is a popular misconception among those worried about signing a donor registry. Doctors always focus on saving your life not the potential recipient of the organs. Many a time, the doctor treating you may not have anything to do with organ transplantation.
Donor’s Family Should Pay For Organ Retrieval
In case of a brain-dead patient the donor’s family do not have to pay for the organ retrieval.