Even if there is a slim chance of truth in after life or reincarnation, then why is it difficult for us to accept the value of creating second life after we have lived one. Yes, I am talking about organ donation.
We hear and read all the times about organ donor, organ donation or any successful transplant of an organ nearby. But generally, we choose not to reason enough behind the intention of the people who donate their organs.
Why? I do not understand.
Alone in India, almost half a million people die every year in waiting for organs. This is a depressing statistic for a country like India where there is one death every 4 minutes due to road accidents. Death in road accidents are no good, but in a way, all those deaths can become a ray of hope to all patients waiting for organ donation.
Organ donation in India is the lowest in the world. The number of organ donation in India is around 0.34 person donating per million of total population (2014 Data). Whereas, countries like USA, Spain have such rates as 27.02 and 36 respectively.
I feel the abysmally small number of donors in India is because of lack of knowledge and awareness. Organ donation (post brain death) kicked quite late in India, sometime in 1994.
Ahead in this article, I will try to reveal all facts and myths harbouring around organ donation. You will be able to comprehend the need of becoming a proud organ donor of India.
What is Organ Donation?
In simple words, organ donation is the process of harvesting organ of an individual, living or dead, for transplanting them into another person. The individual who donates his organs is called as a donor while the person who receives the organ is known as a recipient.
When can you donate organs?
There are majorly two conditions in which a person can donate their organs legally. These are:
Brain death is the state of a person in which there is no activity in their brain stem due to brain injury and brain haemorrhage. In this condition, the person permanently loses the potential for consciousness and ability to breathe. Brain death condition is irreversible.
However, a brain-dead person’s organs can be maintained in proper condition with the help of ventilators. At times, relatives and friends of deceased find it hard to believe if their beloved is dead or not since the brain-dead person’s heart would beat and blood would circulate artificially on the ventilator.
The clock starts ticking soon after the panel of doctors decides to take out organs from the deceased after consent from their relatives. The vital organs must be transplanted within few hours before they become unusable for transplantation.
Note: If a person dies with cardiac arrest, then the deceased can mostly donate tissues such as corneas, skin and bones.
Living donors are classified as either a relative or a non-relative donor. In this category, a living donor can donate organs like kidney, part of the liver, etc. If the donor is not relative, then the transplant approval may have to come from a state level or hospital committee which includes government officials too.
This is done to keep a check on any monetary transaction involved in the whole organ transplant process.
What organs and tissues can be donated after death?
The doctor should extract the organs as soon as the person is declared brain dead with ventilator artificially maintaining the organs. Whereas, tissues could be procured within 24 hours from brain death.
- Heart – Within 4-6 hours
- Lung – Within 4-6 hours
- Kidney – Within 48 hours
- Liver – Within 12 hours
Why should you register yourself as an organ donor?
Till now, you must have understood that many patients are waiting for someone who can provide them with a second chance at life in the form of an organ donor. There will be a part of you living in this world after you are gone.
Almost 0.2 million Indians need kidney transplant every year but hardly 15000 gets it done successfully. We have the severe shortage of organ donors. At any given time, we have around 7-8 brain dead patients in every hospital. In short, everyone is a potential organ donor after death.
Do you know that in India
- 12 million people suffer from corneal blindness and await corneal transplant.
- 0.5 million people die just because of non-availability of organs.
- 50k people die alone from heart disease.
- Almost 0.2 million people await kidney transplant, whereas only 15k people get one.
- Approximately 0.2 million people die of liver disease.
Above data compelled me long ago to become an organ donor. It does not cost a dime to become an organ donor. Just imagine, even after your death, your loved ones will feel your presence if someone’s heart beats belong to you.
Where can you register yourself as an organ donor?
As of now, India does not have a national level organ donor registry. However, there is central government level organisation and several non-governmental organisations, trusts and registered societies, which are working in the field of organ removal and transplantation. You can get yourself registered as an organ donor with any of these non-profit organisations. Some of them are:
NOTTO (National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization) is a national level government organisation, which was set up under Director general of health services, a ministry of health and family welfare government of India.
As if now NOTTO is setup for Delhi and NCR, but gradually it will expand to include other states and regions of India. National Network division of NOTTO functions as the apex centre for all India activities of coordination and networking for retrieval, storage and distribution of organs and tissues transplantation. You can get yourself register here on NOTTO Portal as well.
Who can donate the organ and at what age?
There is no age limit in general for anyone to become an organ donor. Only in the case of a child, parent consent is a must for the organ transplant. In general, you can donate organs if you have:
- Adequate organ function.
- No severe or systemic infection.
- No HIV infection.
Even in some cases, a deceased with cancer may donate cornea.
Organ donation day 13th August
Every year, on 13th August, India celebrates organ donation day. The aim of this day is to spread awareness and motivation among people about the value of organ donation.
Over to you
There cannot be any bigger and generous donation other than organ donation. You are just extending your life by donating your organ to someone in need. Throughout your life, you do whatever it takes for you to go down in history. Some succeed, and some do not. But organ donation is one chance after you left to make a lasting difference in lives of many people. There will be someone somewhere smiling just because of your organ donation.
I am an organ donor, are you?
Do share this article on every social media platform to generate awareness about organ donation. Your small share could do wonder.