The need of organ donation has never been greater than in today’s times. More than half a million Indians are estimated to be in dire need of an organ transplant.
Know the importance of organ transplants to understand organ donation. A transplant is a medical procedure where one person’s dysfunctional organ or tissue is replaced by that of a healthy person. In certain cases, despite major advances in the medical world, transplant is the only option available for the patient. Transplants drastically improve the quality of life of the patient and give them another chance to live.
An estimate indicates that in India alone annually about 5 lakh people die every year because of non availability of organs. Another shocking statistic is that 90% of the people in the waiting list die without getting an organ. Almost anyone can donate organs regardless of their age. One organ donor can save up to 8 lives and heal the lives of 75 through a tissue donation.
In organ donation, a person pledges during her/his lifetime, that after death, certain (or all) organs from the body can be used for transplantation to help terminally ill patients get a new lease of life. With recent advances in transplantation, people of all ages and medical histories can donate organs. However, the final call on the organs and tissue that can be donated is taken only after doctors analyze the donor’s medical condition.
1. Structural abnormality – Some individuals are born with an abnormality like a congenital heart defect. Biliary Atresia is one the most common reasons why a child might need a liver transplant – it is because the bile duct has failed to develop.
2. Born with a Disease – Diseases such as cystic fibrosis may cause an organ to fail.
3. Developed an illness – Some people are unlucky enough to contract a disease that could result in an organ failure.
Why India sees a shortage of Organ donors:
People of all ages should consider themselves potential donors. When a person dies, he or she is evaluated for donor suitability based on their medical history and age. The Organ Procurement Agency determines medical suitability for donation.
Who decides the candidate eligible for a transplant?
The organ is offered first to the transplant centre with the candidate who is the best match. The transplant team decides if it will accept or refuse the organ based on established medical criteria, medical urgency, and other factors like patient availability and organ transportation.
If the transplant centre refuses the organ, the transplant centre of the next patient on the list is contacted and the process continues until the organ is placed. Organs are distributed locally first; if no match is found, they are offered regionally and then nationally.