The facts of Organ donation- Busting the myth

Organ donation is defined as “When a person allows an organ of theirs to be removed, legally, either by consent while the donor is alive or after death with the consent of the next of the kin.” Organ donation provides a life-giving, life-enhancing opportunity to those who are at the end of the line of hope.

A significant number of deaths due to organ failure can be prevented by timely donation and transplantation of organs.

Dr.Pradeepa  (Associate Medical Director and Senior Consultant Urologist –
NU Hospitals, Shivamogga said, “Common transplantation after organ donation include kidney, heart, liver, pancreas, intestines, lungs, bones, bone marrow, skin, and cornea. Although some organs such as the kidney and tissues like part of the liver, pancreas, lungs, and intestines can be donated while the donor is alive, most of the donations occur only after the donor’s death. In India, the legislative foundation for brain death and organ donation was officially established, under Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994 amended in 2011. It provided a much-needed legal and transparent system for organ donation. India’s organ donation rate (ODR) stands at an abysmal 0.34 per million population (PMP) when compared with the donation rate of 36 PMP in countries like Spain. Only 0.08% of Indians donate their organs when compared with 70%–80% of Spaniards and Belgians.”

Dr Praveen Malvade, Senior Consultant Nephrologist and Transplant Physician,
NU Hospitals, Shivamogga) said, “Donation effects more than the donors and recipients. It also effects the families, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances who love and support those in need of transplantation, and who benefit from their renewed life and improved health after transplant. There are many types of organ donation like living donor and deceased donor – Donation after brain death/ Brain death is complete and irreversible cessation of brain activity despite the presence of heart beat. With mechanical ventilation and medical support, the lungs and heart can be made to continue function and circulation to the issues can be sustained. Brain dead heart beating donors who are victims of  head injury or brain tumour and who have no brain function recovery with cardiac resuscitation after cardiac arrests are the potential deceased donors.”


Myth: If I agree to donate my organs, the hospital staff won’t work as hard to save my life.
Fact: When you go to the hospital for treatment, doctors focus on saving your life — not somebody else’s.

Myth: Organ donation is against my religion
Fact: Organ donation is consistent with the beliefs of most major religions. These religions include Hinduism, Roman Catholicism, and Islam.

Myth: I’m too old to donate. Nobody would want my organs.
Fact: There’s no defined cut-off age for donating organs. The decision to use your organs is based on strict medical criteria, not age. Don’t prematurely disqualify yourself. Let the doctors decide at the time of your death whether your organs and tissues are suitable for transplantation.

Myth: Rich and famous people go to the top of the list when they need a donor organ.
Fact: The rich and famous aren’t given priority when it comes to allocating organs. It may seem that way because of the amount of publicity generated when a celebrity receives a transplant, but they are treated no differently from anyone else. The reality is that celebrity and financial status are not considered in organ allocation

Myth: My family will be charged if I donate my organs.
Fact: The organ donors’ family is never charged for donation. The family is charged for the costs of all final efforts to save your life, and those costs are sometimes misinterpreted as costs related to organ donation. Costs for organ removal go to the transplant recipient.

Myth- Donation will cause pain and inconvenience to family
 Fact- No. The Family is more likely to feel warmth and solace as their beloved has given lives to many patients through their organs

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