The importance of Organ Donation
For many doctors, nurses, and the general public the term life support calls up the image of a ventilator. However, there are many types of life support one of them being organ transplants. As with any other type of life support, organ transplantation comes with its share of problems.
Forty years ago, many people died because doctors could not successfully complete a transplant and prevent rejection of the new organ. The knowledge of anti-rejection drugs was limited, and the surgery involved was extremely difficult. Today, science has made improvement in the field of transplantation to the point that most transplant operations are considered low risk. The success rate is high for kidney transplants, liver transplants, cornea transplants, and even heart and lung transplants. However, more then 5,000 patients die each year in the United States not because of scientific reasons but because of social. In the United States, the majority of people are in favor of organ donation, but only a small amount actually ends up donating their organs when they die. There are not near enough organs to meet the demand, which means an average of 16 patients die every day from what could have been a curable disease.
This problem is due not only to human psychology but organ donation laws. Current United States law states that the final decision for organ donation falls to the power of attorney or the deceased patient's next of kin. Organ donation cards or an organ donation indication on a person's drivers license are important legal documents. However, a family member's decision overrules these documents.
Most people do not dwell on the possibility of dying, so they do not take the time to discuss with their family their feelings about organ donation. Then when the time comes for the family to make a decision many are not sure what to do. They can not stand the thought of someone using their loved ones body and in turn decide not to donate.
One of the main problems with donation is that it requires two people, the donor and their family member. The donor must talk with their family member about their feelings on donation and the family member must decide to respect those feelings when the time comes to make the decision. If this process is not done and most of the time it is not, then nobody gets to use the organs.
This process has created a medical crisis in the United States today, and there are many people working together to resolve this problem.
Scientists have attempted to develop new techniques to help find a solution for this problem. One example includes xenotransplantation, which is a transplant between different species. This experiment is still in early stages, but has had promising results. Another technique is artificial organs, replacing damaged organs with man made organs; while there have been advances with this procedure they have found that artificial organs do not work as well as the natural organs.
Doctors and politicians have suggested legal and social changes as the best option. In some of the other countries it is automatically assumed that you are an organ donor unless you notify the government otherwise. Few people take the action of notifying them which increases the supply of organs. Many politicians and doctors feel this should be done in the United States, but it has met with much resistance, due to the fact that people do not want to give up that much control over their bodies.
Most experts agree that the solution is for organizations such as the UNOS, United Network of Organ Sharing, and the AMA, American Medical Association, along with other organizations, increase their efforts to educate the public about the benefits of donation. They hope that more people will come to understand the need for organs and the benefit of donation. They want society to see donation as their social responsibility and that organ donation is one of the greatest ways to serve humanity.
So together everyone can play a part in the solution to this problem and hopefully one day organ transplant recipients will have a 100% chance of survival.
More by this Author
Why choose nursing as a profession? Nurses have been asked this as far back as can be remembered. Each individual nurse has different reasons, rather it is personal, professional, money, job security, or just a love...