To Your Health: Organ Donation Saves Lives

Did you know that a single organ and tissue donor can save or improve the lives of up to 50 people?

That’s quite an impact for a selfless decision.

Throughout April, we recognized National Gift of Life Month, so to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation, we’ll be addressing what it means to have “organ donor” on your license. to drive.

With all the successes in transplant surgery and saving lives, there is still a lot of work to be done to register more organ and tissue donors. If you register as a donor – something you can easily choose when renewing your driver’s license – you have the potential to save lives and reduce waiting lists for multiple organs.

As an organ donor, you can give up to eight people a second chance by donating your:

• Heart

• Liver

• Lungs

• Kidneys

• Pancreas

• Intestines

In addition to organs, donors can also donate:

• Fabric

• Bones

• The skin

• Heart valves

• Corneas

So you see how dozens of people can be helped when a donor dies and leaves those gifts behind. Having performed heart and heart-lung transplants earlier in my career, I can assure you that the care a patient receives before death is not affected or influenced by their organ donor status.

Letting someone die to attack their organs… just another “urban legend” we need to disprove!

People in need of an organ transplant are placed on waiting lists until they can be matched with potential donors. In some cases, such as kidney donation, transplant patients may seek living donors, but not all patients are lucky enough to have someone willing to donate who is also a match.

To determine if a recipient is compatible with a donor, we must consider:

• Blood group

• Type of fabric

• Body size

• Severity of their state of health

• The distance that separates them from the donor

• The time they waited for a new organ

Without proper matches, waiting lists get longer.

After a potential donor dies, hospital staff contact the Pennsylvania chapter of Gift of Life, which helps coordinate organ donation in the state. Staff review the potential donor’s medical history to determine if they meet donation requirements, and if the person was a registered donor, staff will discuss donation options with their family.

When a person is not a registered donor, their family has the ability to decide on their behalf whether or not to donate organs and tissues.

If the donation process continues, donor information is entered into a national database. This information helps identify the best beneficiaries and those most in need and includes:

• Blood group

• Height

• Weight

• Hospital postal code

When a match is found, the organ is quickly transported to a hospital close to the recipient and the transplant procedure is usually completed within 24 hours. All medical costs related to the transplant are covered by the recipient’s insurance.

A few weeks after the transplant, Gift of Life sends a letter to the donor’s family letting them know what has been donated. Gift of Life also offers services such as bereavement counselling, memorial events to honor loved ones, and pen pal opportunities.

Recipients receive follow-up care to identify any potential changes in organ function or overall health.

It is quick and easy to register to become an organ donor. The next time you renew your driver’s license or national identity card, you can add the donor designation to your file. And if you don’t want to wait, you can do so anytime at

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