Dr. Jitendra Kumar
Organ donation is a common term in today’s date but very few people are well aware of this medical procedure to step forward and donate organs to save a life. The process of removing an organ from the body of a living or deceased person is called harvesting. The recovered organ from the body of the donor is transplanted to recipient’s body through proper medical procedure.
Why India is lagging in Organ donation
As per global survey, India is lagging far behind in organ donation (0.00005% as compared to 0.003% in western world) and the main reason behind it is lack of awareness and a lot of misconceptions.
In India, nearly 5 lakh people die due to non availability of organ per year as the country is suffering from an acute shortage of organ donor. It is scientifically proven that a person can save 8 lives by donating his/her organs. But a lot of myths prevail in Indian society regarding organ donation and through mass spread of awareness campaigns only, these myths can be replaced by facts to save thousands of lives. Here are a few facts on Organ Donation:
Almost everyone can be an organ donor irrespective of age, caste, religion and medical history. The process of organ donation is executed with the consent of the donor. In case of living donor, there are some legal procedures to donate organs (especially kidney donation) but in case of deceased donor, after declaration of brain death, the consent of the family members is important.
Organs that can be donated and transplanted
THERE ARE 6 ORGANS THAT CAN BE DONATED AND TRANSPLANTED:
- Kidney– Among the list of donated organs, kidney takes the top position as it is most commonly donated. Kidney failures are quite common as diseases affecting kidneys affect both the kidneys almost simultaneously and hence a donor with one kidney is not subjected to any additional risk. A patient with kidney failure can add years to his life through kidney transplant. On an average, the lifespan of a transplanted kidney is 10 years.
- Liver– One liver can save two lives. A liver has two lobes and each can be transplanted to each individual. Even a portion of the liver can be donated as this is the only organ in human body that can grow cells and regenerate itself to its previous form. A living donor can donate liver.
- Lungs– Both single and double lobe of the lungs can be transplanted. Single lobe lungs are donated by living donor whereas double lobe lungs can be donated by deceased donor in case of brain death and that needs to get transplanted on the recipient’s body within 4 to 6 hours of retrieval from donor’s body.
- Intestine– A living donor can donate a portion of the intestine. But generally pancreas can be donated in case of brain death.
- Heart– Heart can be donated in case of brain death only. Once retrieved from a donor’s body, a heart needs to be transplanted within 4 hours as a heart can survive for only 4 hours after removal from donor’s body.
- Pancreas– A part of the pancreas can be donated and the functionality of pancreas can be retained with that part only.
Besides organ donation, tissues can also be donated and these can be harvested within 24 hours of death. Besides veins, skin, bones, valves and tendons, cornea donation is the most crucial one as survey reports reveal that nearly 2 lakh cornea donations are needed in India per year whereas only 50,000 corneas are donated. Cornea donation can give vision to many.
MYTHS AND FACTS ON ORGAN DONATION
Even in this 21st century, there is perception in most Indians that organ donation will lead them towards hell after death. But this is a completely wrong notion as organ donation is not a sin but an auspicious activity that will help you to earn blessings of Almighty as well as many people who will get another life through your donated organs, only because of you.
Director of Nephrology & Renal transplant at asian Institute of Medical Sciences, Faridabad