Organ donation is harvesting of one's healthy organs, after his or her death, for the purpose of transplanting them to someone else who is in need of transplantation. It involves the process of surgically removing an organ or tissue from one person (the organ donor) and placing it into another person (the recipient) who suffer from irreversible organ failure or the organ has been damaged by disease or injury.
For organ recipients, a transplant is a second chance in life. When illness, infection or injury results in organ failure, transplant is the only way they can recover or lead a normal life. When you die, your organs could help several people through organ transplants and many others through tissue grafts. Vital organs such as the heart, pancreas, liver, kidneys and lungs can be transplanted to those whose organs are failing. Even a cornea or tissue transplant can give them the ability to see again or the recovery of mobility or freedom from pain.
Vital Organs like heart, liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, and pancreas can be donated only in case of 'brain death'. However other tissues like corneas, heart valves, skin, bones etc can be donated only in case of natural death.
Brain death is defined as the irreversible loss of all functions of the brain resulting from a massive, irreversible brain injury of identifiable cause. It is evidenced by cessation of breathing and other vital reflexes, unresponsiveness to stimuli, absence of muscle activity, and a flat electroencephalogram for a specific length of time.
In brain death, all areas of brain are damaged and no longer function due to which a person cannot sustain his/her own life, but vital body functions may be maintained by an artificial support system. This maintains circulation to vital organs long enough to facilitate organ donation. People who experience brain death also donate tissues. Whereas, coma is a state of unconsciousness and the patient in coma is medically and legally alive and may breathe without medical assistance. The brain still functions (and may heal) and there is blood flow to the brain.
Organs must be removed as soon as possible after the determination of brain death, while circulation is being maintained artificially. Tissues may be removed within 12 to 24 hours. A deceased donor is kept on a ventilator after he or she has been declared brain dead until the organs can be harvested. A brain dead person's organs may stay alive for a varied time period; this period may range from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. However, once the organs have been removed from the body and stored in a chemical solution, they have limited life spans. The length of time donated organs and tissues can be kept outside the body, before transplantation is to occur, vary: Heart: 4-6 hours Liver: 12-24 hours Kidney: 48-72 hours Heart-Lung: 4-6 hours Lung: 4-6 hours
On family’s consent, the life-support equipment will remain on to protect the organs for transplantation. The medical staffs continue administering drugs and oxygen supply to the deceased person to stabilize the organs without which organs could deteriorate rapidly. Right before the organs are removed from the donor’s body, the mechanical ventilation is switched off and the heart is stopped. Once removed, the organs are flushed with preservation fluid and specially packed in a cool chamber. They are then transported to the hospitals where they will be transplanted. The incision is covered with dressing, just as all other surgical procedures. The body will not be disfigured. The body is treated with respect and dignity, and the family can view and spend time with the deceased afterwards. Normal funeral and burial arrangements can proceed.
Step 1: Register your pledge with us. Step 2: Download and print your donor card and carry it in your wallet always. Step 3: Discuss your decision with your family and loved ones so that they can help your wishes fulfilled. Your family may be asked to sign a consent form in order for your donation to occur. WITHOUT their consent, your organs/tissues cannot be donated.