Organ Donation. These two words offer hope, respite and a light across the tunnel for hundreds of thousands of families across the world, who are currently waiting for a transplant. We find out about Gift Your Organ Foundation which is instrumental in saving lives through pledges for organ donation.
Organ donation provides the gift of life to thousands of people each year through heart, kidney, lung, liver, pancreas or intestine transplants and hundreds more are helped through life enhancing tissues. Without the generosity of organ donors and their family, those waiting for organ donation will die. One organ donor can save the lives of up to seven individuals by way of solid organ donation and impact the lives of up to 40 people by way of tissue donation. Less than one in a million donate their organs in India.
To understand Organ Donation, it is first important to understand Organ Transplants. A transplant is a medical procedure where one person’s dysfunctional organ or tissue is replaced by that of a healthy person, thus restoring its function. In certain cases, despite major advances in Medical Science, transplant is the only alternative. Transplants drastically improve the quality of life of the patient and
give them another chance to live.
To state the obvious, a transplant can only take place if there is an organ available from a donor. There are two situations under which Organ donation occur- when the person making the donation is alive (Live Donations) or after the person dies (Deceased Donations).
As per the Transplantation of Human Organs Act 1994 , only first degree relatives (Parents, siblings & children) are allowed to be Live Donors. There is a stipulation on the organs that can be donated. They can donate one Kidney (as one kidney is capable of maintaining the body functions), a portion of Pancreas (as half of the pancreas is adequate for sustaining pancreatic functions) and a part of the Liver (as the few segments that are donated will regenerate after a period of time).
Deceased Donations Death is of two main types Brain Death and Cardiac/Natural Death.
Brain death is the irreversible and per manent end of all brain functions. The brain can no longer send messages to the body to perform vital functions like breathing, sensation, obeying commands etc. Such persons are kept on artificial support (ventilators) to maintain oxygenation of organs so that the organs are in healthy condition until they are removed. Most cases of brain death are the end result of head injuries or brain tumor patients from Intensive care units. Brain death is different from being in a Coma, or in a Persistent vegetative state, in brain death there is no possibility of recovery, and the patient is declared clinically and legally dead.
It is possible to donate all organs in the case of Brain death. Cardiac Death When a person suffers a Cardiac death, the heart stops beating. Due to the lack of circulation of blood the vital organs quickly become unusable for transplantation. However, if the person is on a ventilator and if it is medically clear that the person can not survive, then the family can consider Organ donation for certain vital
place in the operating room. Once the heart stops beating, death is declared and the organs are retrieved.
About Gift Your Organ Foundation Gift your Organ Foundation is a registered Charitable Trust conceived in February 2011. The founding members were like-minded individuals concerned about the glaring deficiency in the current scenario of organ donation in India. They jointly felt a civic responsibility to address this problem, to educate the community, and to promote the cause of organ donation. The dedication was so deep and passionate, that the vision came about to make a difference that would affect the fate of every single citizen of India.
Innovative Initiative Last year in a path breaking initiative, Gift Your Organ Foundation in association with the Transport Department, Government of Karnataka and Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government. of Karnataka introduced the option of organ donor on driver’s license card. This initiative has tremendously increased the public awareness on organ donation and in just 10 months over 17,000 pledges from 4 RTOs were received while ZCCK, which is the government body overlooking the transplantation process have re-
ceived 2200 pledges since 5 years.
In an interview with NGO Express, Priyanka Shylendra, Mnaager-Gift Your Organ Foundation informed, “Since July 24, 2012, through this initiative, we have had more than 17,000 people pledging their organs. A majority of organ donation pledges in the USA have come through the route of DL applications. If other states in India adopt this as well, the number of pledges will go up exponentially. We are trying to convince the Central Government to help us in the initiative.”
Last year Karnataka recorded the highest number of deceased organ donors, which was almost triple the number of donors when compared to 2011. The Transport Department agrees that this increase in donors is related to the work done by Gift You Organ in spreading the news and increase the total pledgers.
After seeing the success of the organ donor option on driver’s license cards in Karnataka, Maharashtra government has now come ahead to launch a similar initiative in Mumbai and Pune. Infact, the Health and Family Welfare Department of Maharashtra government has gone a step ahead and said that they would like to introduce the option of organ donor on college application forms and have written to
the Governor regarding the same. Another positive trend that came
Another positive trend that came up over the course of this project was that it wasn’t just the informed youngsters who took up this option. Even barely-educated people who belong to the lower-income group chose it. “Several auto and truck drivers opted for it, saying: ‘If my body will be of use to someone after my death, then why not?,” Shylendra recalled.
One of the challenges her team faced was the lack of awareness about organ donation. Many families would cite religious obstacles against organ donation. They feel that if they donate an organ in this birth, they may not be born with that organ in next birth etc.
Shylendra and her team have continuously questioned them about the altruistic motive i.e. you do good in this birth by donating and the next one birth will be much better.as God would have taken note of your kindness.
How To Register As An Organ DonorRegistering as an organ donor takes little else than courage and makes a huge difference. It could mean life after death for the donor and life itself for those on the impossibly long waiting list for organs. For Driving Licence Applicants In
Bangalore Each driving license applicant who approaches the RTO will be given a choice to pledge his/her organs. Gift Your Organ Foundation volunteers would educate those unaware of the importance of organ donation and simplicity of the process. If the applicant chooses to pledge his/her organs, then a sticker will be put on his/her DL, stating ‘Organ Donor’ in English and Kannada with a green heart logo.
How To Pledge With Gift Your Organ Foundation
- Log onto www.giftyourorgan.org and pledge online.
- Visit ZCCK office in NIMHANS campus, pledge and receive a green heart sticker on your DL.
- Opt for it while applying for DL in Bangalore.