15,000 people await a kidney transplant but only 5,000 get one.
1,000,000 lakh people suffer from corneal blindness and await transplant.
What is Transplant?
A transplant is a surgical procedure where one person’s dysfunctional organ is replaced by that of a healthy person.
Transplants drastically improve the quality of life of the patient and give them another chance to live.
What can be donated?
A transplant can only take place if there is an organ available from a donor.
Living persons can donate a kidney, portions of the liver, lung, pancreas, intestines, blood and still continue to live a normal life.
One organ donor can up donate up to twenty-five different organs and tissues for transplantation. This can save up to nine lives!
How does organ donation help patients with organ failure?
For organ recipients, a transplant often means a second chance at life.
What are different types of organ donation?
In organ donation, a person pledges during her/his lifetime that after death, certain organs from the body can be used for transplantation to help terminally ill patients get a new lease of life.
People of all ages and medical histories can donate organs-even people in their 80s have donated organs in the past.
However, the the final call on the organs and tissue that can be donated is taken only after doctors analyse the donor’s medical condition.
Living Donation: Living donation takes place when a living person donates an organ for transplantation to another person.
The living donor can be a family member, such as a parents, child, brother or sister, grandparent or grandchild.
It can also come from someone who is emotionally related to the recipient, such as a good friend, a relative, a neighbour or an in-law.
Deceased Cadaver Donation: The patient has to register in a hospital that does transplants.
The patient will be put on a wait list. As and when the organ from an appropriate deceased donor(brain death) is available, the patient will be intimated.
What is India’s legal position on organ donations?
Organ donations are legal by Indian law. The Indian government enacted the Transplantation of Human Organs Act (THOA), 1994, which allows organ donation, and legalized the concept of ‘brain death’.
Brain death is the irreversible and permanent cessation of all brain functions. In situations of brain death, a person cannot sustain his own life, but vital body functions may be maintained in an ‘intensive care unit’ for a short period of time.
Such persons are kept on artificial to maintain oxygenation of organs so that the organs are in a healthy condition until they are removed. Organs of such patients can be transplanted to terminally ill patients.
In India, a panel of 4 doctors has to declare you brain dead before your organs can be harvested. A series of exhaustive tests:-
- Cornea reflex test.
- Ear reflex test.
- Gag reflex test.
- Aphena reflex test
The panel must include:-
- The medical administrator in charge of the hospital.
- An authorized specialist.
- An neurologist/neuro-surgeon and thespiedical officer treating patient.
- In most countries around the world, these tests are done only once
Why is it difficult to donate organs in India?
Finding a donor match is difficult to begin with. In India, this challenge is compounded by bureaucratic hurdles and lack of awareness.
- The first challenges red-tapism and lengthy paperwork. According to existing rules, if the potential donor is not related to the person who needs the organ, the transplant needs to the approved by a state-level committee or by a hospital committee that include government officials.
- The next challenge is that it is often difficult for family members to accept their loved one is brain dead. The fact that body is warm to touch and the heart is beating makes it difficult for doctors to convince the family members to donate the organs of their relative. Even if the family is ready to donate organ, superstitions and misconceptions become hurdles.
- Another problem is that there are too few surgeons and hospitals equipped for transplants.
- Organ donation does not disfigure the deceased donor’s body.
- Organs must be removed as soon as possible after the determination of brain death, while circulation is being maintained artificially. Tissues may be removed within 12 to 24 hours.
- The donor’s family doesn’t have to bear any expenses for organ or tissue donation.
- Organ donation waiting lists are made according to the severity of the illness, blood type, and time spent waiting in every hospital.
- If you intend to be an organ donor, it is imperative that you inform your family about your wish.
- There are very few medical condition that would automatically disqualify you from donating any organs or tissues.
How can I donate?
- To be an organ donor, it is important to register by signing up for Organ Donation.
- One needs to fill a prescribed consent form, which can either be downloaded from National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NATTO) website or accessed form the medical facility that is approached for organ removal.
- The potential donor can also approach organ donation agencies for a donor card. (organdonationday.in , www.mohanfoundation.org )