What is Organ Donation?

Organ Donation is a noble act which gives us an opportunity to save many lives after our Death. The donated organs are transplanted into patients who are suffering from end stage organ failure. As many patients suffer from end stage diseases of various organs, organ donation is the only ray of hope for them.

What is organ transplantation?

Human organ transplantation is the achievement of modern medical science where through surgical procedure the healthy organ from a living or dead person is implant in an individual suffering from end stage failure. This is an established surgical treatment available for the needy patients.

Which organs can be donated?

A) In Brain Death: The vital organ like heart, liver, two kidneys, pancreas, intestine, lungs ets. can br donated only if we die a brain death.
B) After Cardiac Death: However cornea[eyes], skin and other tissues can be donated after cardiac death.
C) Live Donor: A living person can donate limited organs like a single kidney[as we have two kidneys] or part of liver and only to his/her or close relative. The other vital organs can be retrieved only from a brain dead individual.

What is brain death?

Any individual with an irreparably damaged brain stem, which is an important part of the central nervous system, is declared brain dead. Brain dead individuals cannot regain their consciousness and are not able to breathe on their own as brain stem has the center for both. The heart can continue to function on a ventilator and other support for a maximum of 36 to 72 hrs. As the blood supply to organs can be maintaines for few hours, it is during this period, that the organs can be retrieved after obtaining consent from the close relatives. Brain Death can occure only in Intensive Care Unit.(ICU)

How is brain death declared?

Brain Death is declared by the Brain Death Committee which involves team of four doctors recognized by the Govt. and who are not involved in performing the transplant surgery. The team has to perform the brain stem death tests twice at the gap of minimum 6 hrs. This death is declared in the hospitals recognized for transplantation or as organ retrieval center and is accepted worldwide. The brain death certificate is then issued to the relatives.

Is there any chance of survival of a brain dead individual?

No. A brain dead individual is declared dead and cannot be revived. Life can’t be revived by any means after brain death. Brain Death has nothing to do with mercy killing; the organs are taken only after the person is declared brain dead. There is difference between comatose patients and brain dead individuals. The comatose patients are not dead where as brain death is the stage beyond coma and there is no chance of the individual ragaining consciousness. A brain dead individual is declared dead. Organs are never taken at the cost of donor’s life.

Who do I contact to know more about organ donation?

Each of the Registered Hospitals in Pune has a trained Transplant Co-ordinator who will give you all the information you need as well as a donor card. You can also approach the ICU doctors with your desire to donate your relative’s organs.

Does the donor have to die only in hospital?

Yes. As brain death can occure only in ICU, an organ donor necessarily dies in ICU of the hospital. No vital organs can retrieved if the death occurs at home. However, eyes and skin can be retrieved up to 6 hrs. after the heart stops beating hence this can be done even if the individual dies at home.

Is it legal?

Yes. In India, The Human Organ Transplantation Act was passed in 1994 which mainly covers 3 areas:

  • It recognizes brain stem death.
  • It regulates removal, storage and transplantation of organs for the therapeutic purposes.
  • It prevents commercial dealings in human organs. No human organ can be bought or sold.
Is the donor's body given back to the relatives?

Yes. The body is given back to the relatives to perform the last rites after the retrieval of organs. The organs are retrieved only for therapeutic purpose. This is different from body donation where the whole body is given to the anatomy departmemt of the Medical College for academic purposes.

Are the organs given only to the rich?

No. As per the priority criteria like age, blood group, waiting period, clinical status of the recipients, the organs are given to the most needy and suitable patients. In Maharashtra the Govt. has given guidelines to give the priority score to all the waiting recipients to distribute the organs. Money, race, religion are not the criteria for distribution. ZTCC(Zonal Transplant Co-ordination Centre) is regulatory authority for organ donation.

Will the donor family know to whom the organs are given?

The names and address of the recipients is not given to the donor family and vice versa.

Does our religion support organ donation?

Yes. All the religions in India consider it as a noble act. 

Is any compensation or payments made to the donor family?

No. It is pure donation and hence it becomes a noble act. Moreover, the family is not charged for the investigation after the consent for organ donation is given after declaring brain death.

Is there a need of for organ donors?

Many patients die each year of end stage organ disease because they have no suitable organ donors from their own family. Solid organs from a single brain dead patient can give a ’Gift of Life’ to at least seven people in need (two kidneys, lungs, liver, heart and pancreas). Such acts can effectively increase the donor pool and eventually help bridge the enormous gap between needs and available organs. Pledging organ donation before death can be of great help in persuading the relatives of brain dead patient to allow organ donation.

How can one become an organ donor?

Sign an organ donor card. Share your wish with your close relatives as their consent is required before retrieving the organs even if the donor has signed a donor card. The donor card has to be kept with the person who has signed it.

Kidney transplantation?

Kidney transplantation is one of the most widely known Organ transplantation surgeries around the world. It is the procedure in which a specialist surgically removes one of any two kidneys of the donor (living or dead donor), and transplants it into the patient whose both kidneys are failed (patient suffering from end-stage renal disease).

Costly and time consuming procedure?

Kidney and liver transplant surgeries are very expensive surgeries. These surgeries require 4 to 5 hours. Patient needs to stay in the hospital under medical supervision for next 10 to 12 days after the transplantation surgery. There are lots of expenses involved in various tests and medicines which the patient needs to take after the surgery. So, it becomes very difficult for doctors and hospitals to offer organ transplant surgeries for free.

Awareness can help to save many lives

It is very unfortunate that people are not aware about the good will involved in organ donation. Many people avoid organ donation because they think it will damage their loved one’s body and it will be against religious beliefs. Some way or the other, almost each and every religion promotes organ donation.
There is nothing as good as saving someone’s life, and helping someone to stay in this beautiful world.
Death cannot be avoided; everyone has to die one day or the other. Death brings lot of sorrow in the diseased person’s family. There is no way to reduce this loss or pain, however, what best the family members can do is donate the diseased person’s organs to someone and fill the recipient’s life with happiness.

Help someone smile

There are lots of other processes involved, if the donor or brain dead person has medico legal case (case of injury or ailment); it also involves registering FIR with the police and post mortem documentation. This requires time and joint efforts of police department, relatives of diseased person, and Doctors. After completing all these procedures and transplantation surgeries, it will help bring back that smile on the face of two patients suffering blindness, two patients with dead kidneys and one patient whose liver is dead.
All these 5 patients will give blessings to the person because of whom they got that smile on their face.
We believe in donating food, clothing, and money after someone’s death, won’t it be good to donate our loved one’s organs after their death and help someone to survive? Let’s play our part in making life better for others and earn blessings and goodwill! Fill your organ donation declaration form today!