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 patients suffering from end-stage organ failure.
In case of natural death, cornea, heart valves, skin and bone can be donated.
Donating an organ is the noblest cause as one is essentially giving a few years of extended life span to the recipient. A person can volunteer to be an organ donor by expressing his or her desire in the authorized organ and tissue donation form (Form-7 as per Transplantation of Human Organs Act). Further one can also register as a donor at Mohan foundation or Organ India.
Quick Facts About Organ Donation:
The National Health Portal had disclosed certain facts about organ donation which every individual must know in case you have an idea of donating organs.
There is no specified age for organ donation, but it is completely based on strict medical standards.
In the case of natural death, tissues of the cornea, heart valves, bone and skin can be donated, while other important organs like the heart, liver, intestines, kidneys, lungs, and pancreas can be only donated in the case of brain death.
After organ failure, vital organs like the heart, liver, kidneys, GI, lungs, and pancreas can be transplanted into the patient to aid the recipient to lead a good health status and a normal life.
If anyone younger than the age of 18 wishes to donate an organ, then he or she must have a concern agreement of parents or guardians.
Anyone can be an organ donor regardless of age, caste, religion, community etc.
A person with life-threatening health conditions such as actively transmitting cancer, HIV, diabetes, kidney disease or cardiovascular disease cannot donate organs.
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. The 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 the case of a brain-dead patient, the donor’s family do not have to pay for organ retrieval.
Organ donation disfigures the body.
Organ donation is done with utmost respect and care. Donors' bodies are treated with dignity, and skilled surgeons ensure minimal visible impact.
Certain health conditions disqualify a person from being a donor.
Medical professionals determine organ suitability based on strict medical criteria. Even individuals with health conditions can potentially donate specific organs or tissues.
Only wealthy or influential people get transplants quickly.
Organ allocation is based on medical need, urgency, and compatibility. Wealth or influence doesn't affect priority.
It's better to donate organs after death than to be a living donor.
Both deceased and living donations are essential. Living donors can donate organs like kidneys or parts of the liver to save lives.
Signing up as a donor will lead to my organs being taken prematurely.
Medical professionals follow rigorous guidelines and conduct thorough tests to ensure that organs are only donated when all hope of recovery is lost.