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Busting Myths on Organ donation

This article will help clear common myths people may have around organ donation. Don't let misconceptions become the truth and stop you from saving lives.

Busting Myths on Organ donation

Don't let them stop you from saving someone’s life

This article will help clear common myths people may have around organ donation. Don't let misconceptions become the truth and stop you from saving lives.

Organ donation is the practice of retrieving a human organ from a living or deceased person, referred to as a Donor, and transplanting it to the recipient who needs the organ. Recipients are patients suffering from organ failure, who will not survive unless they receive another organ as a replacement. Retrieval is the process of recovering organs

Eight organs in the human body can be donated and transplanted, they are 

  1. Kidneys: Both kidneys can naturally be donated by a deceased donor and the demand for kidneys is the highest, they are also the most frequently donated. A living donor can easily donate one kidney and function well for the rest of their own lives.
  2. Liver: The liver is an important organ and the only organ in the human body that grows cells and regenerates. A donated liver from a deceased donor can be split into two pieces and transplanted into two different people and save both their lives. A living donor can have donated a portion of her/his liver, and the remaining portion will regenerate to almost its full size again.
  3. Heart: A heart transplant needs to happen immediately after being retrieved from the donor, a heart can survive for 4-6 hours only.
  4. Lungs: Single or double-lung transplants can be performed from deceased donors while living donors can donate a single lobe from their lungs, even though it won’t regenerate.
    The pancreas and intestines can also be donated similarly. 

Countless people in India are waiting for an organ transplant but unfortunately, most will never get a suitable organ donor. While it is not easy to think about what's going to happen to your body after you die, let alone thinking of your organs and tissues. Donating your organs can save many lives.

Here are answers to common organ donation myths.

Myth: If I am an organ donor, the hospital staff won't work as hard to save my life.

Fact:  Whenever you go to a hospital for treatment, doctors focus on only saving “your” life. You'll always be attended to by a doctor who specializes in your particular condition and who will give you the best possible care.

Myth: Maybe I’ll be declared dead but I won’t be when they sign my death certificate.

Fact:  Although it's the tabloid grapevine, in reality, people don’t start to wiggle their toes after being declared dead. Organ donors have to go through more tests (at no additional charge) to determine that they're actually and truly dead compared to those who aren’t organ donors.

Myth: Organ donation is against my faith.

Fact: Organ donation is consistent and in line with the belief systems of almost all major religions including Hinduism, Roman Catholicism, Christians, Sikhs, Islam, almost all branches of Judaism, and others. If you're still unsure of or uncomfortable with your faith's alignment with organ donation, consult a member or two and make your call.

Myth: I'm not a very healthy person and who would want my organs?

Fact: While this point of view is understandable, in truth very few medical conditions disqualify you from donating organs. The decision to use a donated organ is based on strict medical criteria and in many cases, it does turn out that certain organs are not suitable for transplantation, but other organs and tissues are just fine. Don't disqualify yourself prematurely. Only medical professionals who make assessments at the time of your death can determine whether your organs are indeed suitable for transplantation or not. 

If you wish to become a living donor, you will go through extensive testing to ensure that you know the risks and gauge whether your decision to donate isn't financial. You will have to get tested to determine if your kidneys are in good shape and also if you can continue to live a healthy life with just one kidney.

Where and how can I register for organ donation after death?

You don’t need to worry about anything if you register with your state's organ donation registry and include donor designation on your ID. Taking these steps legally authorizes your organ donation upon death.

If you have designated someone to make health care decisions in case you can’t, make sure that person knows that about your desire to become an organ donor. You can also include your wishes in a written will if you have one, but that might not be immediately available at the time of your death.

It is also important to tell your family that you want to be a donor or if you become a donor as hospitals seek consent from the next of kin before removing organs, although this is not required if you're registered with your state's donor registry.

You can pledge to donate your organs after death by visiting the NOTTO (National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation) website, or you can also visit Aakash Healthcare for guidance and information on organ donation.



Dr. Ambar Khaira
Senior Consultant
Nephrology & Kidney Transplant.

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