Organ Donation Transplantation Policy

9567 words - 39 pages

The Critical Shortage

The Critical Shortage

The truth is, despite continuing advances in medicine and technology, the demand for organs is vastly greater than the number of organ donors.

Organ donation is all about LIFE. When you donate your organs you give someone the most precious gift--a chance to live. Transplants provide hope for thousands of people with organ failure. Your commitment to organ and tissue donation can save lives. The most important part of deciding to be a donor is telling your family. And that doesn't mean talking about death. It is talking about the opportunity to give another person a second chance at life.

In most states, your family will be consulted about your wish to donate at the time of death. Even with a signed donor card, indication of your wishes on your driver's license, or listing with a donor registry, it may be your family/next of kin who gives final consent. Talk to your family about organ donation. Talk to your family about donating LIFE.

For a brochure on organ and tissue donation, and to obtain donor cards, visit www.organdonor.gov.

Who Can be a donor?

Do you think that you may be too old or that your health is too poor to be a donor? Think again! In 1999, more than 580 people age 65 and older were organ donors. To determine if someone can be a donor, an organ recovery coordinator conducts an evaluation at the time of death. The coordinator looks at the patient's past medical and social history, as well as present medical condition. This is done in a confidential manner.

Because many people who might think they cannot donate are good donor candidates, it is important that you sign a donor card and, above all, let your family know your wishes. For a brochure on organ and tissue donation, including a donor card and family notification form, call 1-800-355-SHARE (7427) or visit www.organdonor.gov and/or www.donatelife.net.

Brain Death and Organ Donation

Most organ donors are people who suffer from a head injury that results in brain death. Brain death is a condition where the brain has permanently stopped working, as determined by a physician. Artificial support systems may temporarily maintain functions such as heartbeat and breathing, but not permanently. These may be people who have had a stroke, traumatic head injury due to a car accident or fall, or a brain tumor that has not metastasized.

There are two ways to pronounce death. Death may be pronounced when a person's heart stops beating or when the person's brain stops functioning (brain death). Brain death occurs when blood, and the oxygen it carries, cannot flow to the brain. The person's heart still beats and provides blood and oxygen to the rest of the body, as long as the person remains on a ventilator, or breathing machine. Because these functions remain intact, brain dead people can qualify as organ donors.

Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (UAGA)

The UAGA provides individuals who are...

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