Organ donation is a key factor in society today. Over 1,600 patients in Canada alone are added to organ wait lists yearly. Organ donation can save many desperate lives. Throughout this study, I will be talking about how organ donation works, the history of how it began, the desperate need for more donors, the risks of the transplant, the medication for post-transplant, the process of consent with the family and donation for research.
Organ donation is when an organ is removed surgically from one person and transplanted into another person in hopes to save a patient’s life. Some donors can donate an organ and still be living. An example would be if a sister gives one of her two kidneys to her brother or if a brother gives part of his liver to his sister. However, the more often case is when there has been severe brain damage, the person is no longer living and maintained on a ventilator until the organs are removed. Organ donations usually come from an unexpected, tragic death after a severe brain injury. Situations like these often result from motor vehicle accidents, bleeding in the brain and trauma; for example, a very bad fall.
The idea of organ donation originated with ancient Greek, Chinese and Roman myths that featured transplants performed by gods and healers which were performed on cadavers or animals. Although these tales are false, by 800 B.C. doctors from India had begun grafting skin from one part of the body to another to repair wounds and burns. In the sixteenth century, Gasparo Tagliacozzi, an Italian surgeon used skin from his patient’s arms to reconstruct ears and noses. Tagliacozzi came to find that using skin from different donors usually caused the procedure to fail, which is now recognized as transplant or organ rejection. In the early 1900’s, European doctors attempted to save patients dying of renal failure by transplanting kidneys from monkeys, pigs, and goats. None of the patients survived for more than a couple of days. In 1912, Alexis Carrell, a French surgeon, developed methods to connect blood vessels and performed multiple successful kidney transplants on dogs. He also worked with Charles Lindbergh to invent a device to keep the organs viable outside of the body. In 1936, a Ukrainian doctor Yu Yu Voronoy performed the first kidney transplant on a human patient using an organ from a deceased donor. However, shortly after the procedure, the patient suffered from rejection of the organ, resulting in death. In 1954, a team of doctors at Boston’s Peter Bent Brigham Hospital performed the very first successful major organ transplant. The doctors transplanted a kidney from a 23-year-old man named Ronald Herrick into his twin brother. Soon after, British immunologist Peter Medawar discovered anti-rejection drugs that enabled patients to receive organs from donors with non-identical DNA. In the 1960’s the first successful lung, liver and pancreas transplants took place. As transplants became less risky, m...