Organ donation is a noble act, which gives an
opportunity to save lives after brain death or during one's life. Many patients
suffer from last stage of disease of heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, etc. The
donated organs are transplanted into these very sick patients to increase their
are mainly two types of organ donation; Living organ donation and deceased
organ donation: A person more than 18
years of age can voluntarily donate his organs to his/her spouse, near relative
under a legal framework. He can donate one kidney or half of his liver during
his lifetime without any ill effect to his health.
2. deceased organ
donation: A person of any age can donate many organs
after his/her brain death. If he/she had pledged to donate his organs, and near
relatives give consent for organ donation after brain death, organs can be
harvested and transplanted into a suitable recipient in a registered Hospital.
(Brain-stem death): A person can die
when his heart stops or his brain dies irreversibly.In brain death, patient is
in a deep coma like state, but there is no
brain activity or respiration. Brain dead patient is on ventilator in an ICU,
the usual causes being head injury or brain hemorrhage.
The heart and others organs are functioning but
he/she cannot take a single breath without ventilator. The patient cannot be in
such condition on ventilator for long and eventually all other organs will also
die within few days. If near relatives give consent, the organs can be removed
surgically from such patient between the time from his brain death to cardiac
Coma is different from brain death because in
coma there is brain activity and patient can become alive. However a brain death
patient can never come to life again, and even death certificate can be issued
in such case.
death declaration: It can only be
declared by a team of four experts who are appointed by government. Full proof
tests are done by the experts twice after a period of 6 hours and there is no
chance of an error. Organs can be taken out surgically only after brain death
certification and after the consent of the near relative or spouse.
corridor: when the organs are removed
from a brain dead donor these organs should be quickly transplanted to a
patient as the life of organs outside the body is very short (few hours). For
example, the life of heart is 4 hours; of liver, 10 to 12 hours and of kidneys,
24 to 48 hours. If the transplant facility is in other hospital, then these
organs have to be transported by aeroplane or ambulance very quickly. To
achieve this, city administration and police work together to create traffic
free roads, and all signals are turned green during organ transport.
Law: Organ donation and transplantation is permitted by
law and covered by transplantation of human organ act (THOA). This act regulates
removal, storage and transplantation of organ for saving lives and prevents
commercial dealings. No human organs can be bought or sold; if done, there is
severe punishment to the transplanting team and persons involved.The law also
requires every hospital having a ICU facility to identify brain dead patient
and request near relative to think about organ donation. Medical social workers
or transplant coordinators are the key persons involved in grief counseling and
one should corporate in this noble cause.
card: One can pledge to become an
organ donor and can have donor card.This shows that you have expressed your
wish of becoming organ donors to your family. Even if somebody is having a
donor card and becomes brain dead, the consent of family members is must. One
can generate donor card by registering at notto.nic.in,
mohanfoundation.org or at
divisional organ and tissue transplant organization (DOTTO) office at NSCB
medical college, Jabalpur.
Cornea Transplant: Cornea can be harvested from deceased donors as well as from
persons who die at home, or suffered cardiac death due to any disease in a
hospital. Cornea need to be removed from such dead body within 6 hrs of death
by eye bank’s doctors.
Body Donation: Body donation is another noble act in which in the event of
death at home or hospital, the whole body can be donated to a medical college
or institute for research and training. No organs except cornea or few tissues
can be used for transplantation in such case.
One of the reasons for
the donor shortage in this country is the many myths and misconceptions
clouding the issue. A survey conducted by a national newspaper showed that 28 %
of a total of 641 urban respondents believed that organ donors will not receive
any life saving treatment while 18% believed that their body will be mutilated
(TOI 30th July, 2013). These misconceptions deter people from
becoming donors, and many lives are lost due to severe shortage of
donation is not necessary in India
Reality: Unofficial statistics from India indicate that there are nearly
300 deaths every day due to patient suffering from one or another organ
failure. India needs organ donors.Of the 9.5 million deaths in India every
year, at least one lakh are believed to be potential donors; however less than
200 actually become donors. The conversion of these brain dead patients into
donors would take care of the long waitlist of end stage organ failure
Myth: If I had earlier
agreed to donate my organs, the hospital staff won’t work hard to save my life.
Even if am not brain dead, the doctors will certify me brain dead for the sake
Reality: When you go to the
hospital for treatment, doctors focus on saving your life – not somebody
else’s. The doctor in charge of your case in not a part of transplant team.
Similarly the members of brain death declaration committee are not a part of
Myth: I have always
understood that when an individual dies, the heart stops beating. Since my
loved one’s heart is beating, he is still alive. Can I come alive from
Brain death condition?
Reality: The heart has its
own pacemaker independent of the brain. As long as it has oxygen, it continues
to beat. Therefore even in brain death patient it can continue to bead and
maintain blood supply to other organs for few days. Eventually, the heart will
stop, despite being on maximum life support machines. There has not been even a
single case in the world at all times where a brain dead patient has come
Myth: My religion
discourages organ donation. Organ retrieved will be absent if I am reborn.
Reality: There are 22 major religions in the world, none of which
discourages organ donation. Being a very noble act by which one human can
provide life to another, most religions support organ donation. No religion
tells that if you donate organs, in next life, you will be devoid of organs.
Scientifically also this is an absolute nonsense.
Myth: I’m too old to
donate. Nobody would want my organs.
Reality: There’s no defined
cut off age for donating organs. Organs have been successfully transplanted
from donors in their 70s and 80s. The decision to use your organs is based on
medical condition which is assessed by the team.
somebody is waiting for a transplant from a deceased donor, his financial or
celebrity status can fetch him organ ahead of moreneedy patient.
Reality: When somebody is on
the transplant waiting list for an organ, what really counts is the severity of
the illness, time spent waiting, blood type, and other important medical
information. Income and social status have no bearing when determining how
organs are allocated, and government authorities. Selling and buying of
organ in deceased organ donation or living organ donation is illegal and has
very severe punishment.
Myth: If you
agree to donate your organs, your family will be charged for the costs of
Reality: There is no cost to
the donor's family for organ and tissue donation. Funeral costs remain the
responsibility of the family.
removal will disfigure the body and affect cremation/burial arrangements.
Reality: The removal of
organs or tissues will not interfere with funeral or burial arrangements and
body is not disfigured. A highly skilled surgical transplant team removes the
organs and tissues which can be transplanted in other patients. Surgeons
suture up the body carefully, and only s scar is present after the organs are
removed like in other surgeries.
Myth: Once I
become an organ donor I can never change my mind. If I fill for Donor Card,I
will die soon.
Reality: You always have the
option to change your mind. You can withdraw your registration by informing the
registry, tear up your organ donor card and let your family know that you have
changed your mind. Many persons have made their donor cards several years back
and living healthy. It is only if somebody dies due to brain death as a result
of head injury or brain hemorrhage and is in ICU on ventilator and the family
consents, organs can be donated.
Being an organ donor can make a big difference
not just to one person. By donating your organs after you die, you can save 8
lives which is surely an act of god. 1: Why should I become an