August is Organ Donor Awareness Month, which aims to highlight the need for organ donation. With thousands of patients in desperate need of healthy organ and tissue transplants, becoming a donor is a selfless act that costs you nothing, but has the potential to give someone a whole new chance at life.
Do You Qualify as an Organ Donor?
Anyone who is under the age of 70 and in good health can become an organ donor. Minors (those younger than 18 years) may become donors with parental permission.
Even if you have a medical condition that means some of your organs can’t be used, your other organs and tissues might still be suitable. There are very few conditions that would automatically disqualify you from becoming a donor at all.
The suitability of each organ is determined according to strict medical criteria. Potential donors would be disqualified for any of the following:
- Death of unknown origin
- Disease of the central nervous system
- HIV or sexually transmitted diseases
Facts about Organ Donation
None of us likes to think about death, and it can be uncomfortable to think about what may happen to our bodies as donors after we die. It’s good to know then, that donors’ bodies are treated with utmost respect and dignity at all times. Organs and tissues are removed surgically, and the donor’s body is closed, just as in any normal surgery, leaving no outward signs of organ donation.
Organ donation will not affect a funeral viewing, or delay funeral plans. Organs must be removed very quickly (usually within 12 hours of the donor’s death) to maximise the chances of a successful transplant. Donation won’t be an inconvenience to the donor’s family and loved ones in any way.
Confidentiality is also respected, and information about the donor is only released if the donor’s family allows it.
It costs nothing to sign up as an organ donor, and the hospital or state covers all medical expenses involved in donation, from the moment of death.
How to Become an Organ Donor
If you’re ready to become an organ donor, all you need to do is contact the Organ Donor Foundation on their toll-free line, 0800 22 66 11. The Foundation will send you an organ donor card to carry in your wallet, and organ donor stickers for your ID book and driver’s license. You can also get an organ donor bracelet, necklace or disc from Medic Alert
Be sure to inform your family of your decision to become an organ donor, as they will be asked to confirm your wishes in the event of your death. You can also draw up a living will that states your wish to donate.
Organ donors are heroes, and this month we celebrate their generosity and kindness!
August is Organ Donor Month. Retrieved from: http://www.bizcommunity.com/
Facts about donation. Retrieved from: http://www.giveandletlive.co.uk/
FAQ about organ donation in SA. Retrieved from: http://www.health24.com/Medical/
Organ donation: Don’t let these myths confuse you. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/
25 Facts about Organ Donation and Transplantation. Retrieved from: http://www.unckidneycenter.org/