Organ Donation Transplantation Policy Essay

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 ...view middle of the document...

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 18 years of age or older the right to donate organs and tissue for transplantation. A written document of your wish includes a signed donor card or indication on your driver's license. All states have enacted some form of the UAGA.

The UAGA also provides information on who can allow donation to occur in the event that the person who died did not make a decision about donation. However, most organ procurement organizations approach the patient's family for consent even if there is a signed donor card. The order of priority is as follows:

spouse

adult son or daughter

either parent

adult brother or sister

grandparent

legal guardian

If consent for donation is given by one of the individuals or groups listed above, the recovery coordinator or hospital staff will obtain written consent. Occasionally, a recovery coordinator will obtain consent for tissue donation over the phone. A copy of this consent form becomes part of the donor's permanent hospital record.

Because the family so often must shoulder the burden of deciding if their loved one would have wanted to be a donor, it is wise to discuss organ and tissue donation with your family so they can be assured they are following your wishes.

The Benefits of Donation

In 2000, organ transplantation saved or enhanced the lives of more than 20,000 men, women, and children. Although organ donation is often related to a sudden and tragic death, many donors and their families see the decision to donate as a rewarding choice. The decision to donate can leave a positive legacy through the knowledge that others lived because of that choice.

In addition to deceased (person declared brain dead) donor transplants, patients may also receive organs from living donors. Living donation offers an alternative for individuals awaiting transplantation and increases the existing organ supply. Create a data...

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