Will the quality of hospital treatment and efforts to save your life be lessened if staff know you are willing to be a donor?
The Hippocratic Oath binds doctors to saving a transplant patient’s life, so will it bind them to saving yours. The medical team is different from the transplant team, only after death has been determined, will the organ donation programme operators be informed. The must obtain the family’s consent for the donation before the transplant team is notified.
Does the organ donation leave the body disfigured?
No. The recovery of organs and tissues is conducted in an operating room under the direction of qualified surgeons and neither disfigures the body nor changes the way it looks in a casket.
I have a history of medical illness. You would not want my organs/tissue.
A donor’s medical suitability is determined on a case to case basis, and will depend on medical and social history. You have nothing to lose by signing up to an organ donation programme.
I am too old or young for organ donation.
Although the general age limit for tissue donation is 70, there is technically no age limit for organ donation. Organs from those over the age of 70 have already been successfully transplanted.
Wealthy people are the only people who receive transplants.
Wealth does not govern the patient selection. Anyone who requires a transplant is eligible for one and once on the waiting list, tissue matching and the medical condition of the patient are the most important factors.
Who can donate?
Individuals over the age of 18 can indicate their desire to be organ donor by signing an organ pledge form or expressing their wishes to family members. Relatives can also donate a deceased family member’s organs and tissues, even those family members under the age of 18.
If you are younger than 18 years of age, you can still choose to donate but only with the consent of an adult who is legally responsible for you, such as your parents or a legal guardian. The adult(s) should witness your signature on the pledge form.
What can be donated?
Organs that can be donated include kidneys, heart, liver, lungs and pancreas. Donation of heart, liver, lung and pancreas can only occur in the case of brain death.
Some of the tissues that can be donated include corneas, skin, bone, middle ear bones, bone marrow, connective tissues and blood vessels. The donation of tissues such as bone, skin or corneas can occur regardless of age and in almost any cause of death.
How is brain death determined?
Organ donation is not considered until brain death has occurred. Brain death is determined by a series of clinical tests performed independently by experienced doctors who have no connection with transplantation procedure.
How are the organs and tissues recovered?
It is a surgical procedure performed by trained surgeons and medical personnel. A complete medical and social examination of the donor takes place in order to ensure the safety of the organs and tissues for the recipient.
Who will received the donated organs and tissues?
The donated organs will be transplanted into those who need them most urgently. Recipient selection is based on medical criteria such as blood type, genetic make-up and body size. People receive tissues based upon their medical condition. Race, religion and social status are not factors in selecting recipients.
Why must the decision to donate be made immediately?
In order to provide optimum transplant success, removal of organs and tissues should be accomplished as quickly as possible. This urgency does not change the fact that the decision to donate should be carefully considered and acceptable to family members. This is why prior family discussion is so important.
Will the donor family know who received the organs and tissues?
Within a few weeks, the donor family will receive general information about who received the organs and how they are doing. The names of the recipients and donors are considered to be confidential information for both organ and tissues donation.