In Time of Grief Comes Compassion - Give Life To Another
Before you see my answer to your question and my reasons for how I feel and why I feel this way read the stats and information below then continue to my story.
In our country there are approximately 104,748 patients on the transplant list.
Each month there are 4000 people added to the waiting list.
Every day 18 people die while waiting for a vital organ such as heart, liver, lung, bone marrow or pancreas. Due to the lack of donors in our country approximately 4500 kidney patients, 1500 liver patients, 370 heart patients and 200 lung patients have passed away within a year. The organs they were waiting for we life changing organs.
There is no age limit to those needing life changing organs. There have been children as young as 5 years old up to adults in there 60's waiting for a new beginning. Donors can be anywhere from a newborn to a person of 70 years old. Those over 65 are generally used for corneas to restore or improve sight, skin for grafting someone with severe scarring or burn victims and bone used for bone grafting to repair bone fractures.
They estimate 12,000 people who die each year meet the criteria for organ donation but less that half of the number become organ donors.
A National Computer Registry know as National Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network match donor to patient. The organization United Network for Organ Sharing operate the system out of Richmond Va.
Currently there are 58 organ procurement organizations that provide organ procurement services to 250 transplant centers.
Each hospital in the US are required by law to have a required referral system in place. Under that system they notify the local organ procurement organization of all patients death. If the OPO determines that organ or tissue donation is appropriate for a specific case a representative will contact the deceased patient's family to offer them the option of donating their loved ones organs or tissues.
There are opportunities in most states that allow you to sign a donor card indicating that you wish to be an organ donor. In Massachusetts their are special stickers or a specific spot that indicates that you are an organ donor.
There are no costs to the family of the organ donor, all costs are paid for by the donor program. If a bill is received in error they can contact either the hospital or procurement agency immediately.
Tissue donations alone can change the lives of 50 or more people. Donated heart valves, bone, skin, corneas and connective tissues are used in medical procedures such as heart valve replacement, limb reconstruction after tumor surgery, hip or knee joint reconstruction or correcting the curve of someone's spine.
Acceptable organ donors are those who's brain function has ceased permantely but whose heart and lungs continue to function with the use of ventilators. Brain dead is a legal definition of death.
Organ transplant recipients are selected on the basis of medical urgency, they must confirm the compatibility of body size and blood chemistry. There are no other factors involved such as race, sex or color.
The advances with surgical technique, organ preservation and effective drugs to prevent rejection have improved immensely over the years as have the success rates for all types of organ and tissues transplant.
About 94.4 percent of kidneys transplanted from deceased donors are still functioning well at their one year anniversary of the transplant. This result is even better @ 97.96 on kidneys transplanted from living donors.
Beginning in 2008 the donor list has diminished and this is resulting in an increase in death of donor list patients.
During your time of loss there is always the chance of turning your tragedy in to a miracle for someone else.
When my fiance passed away in 1999 we were approached and asked if he was an organ donor which he wasn't. They then asked if we would consider sign consent for him to be an organ donor. It only took us minutes to decide. We knew if there was a chance to give life or enhance the life of someone else he would. We agreed deciding that in our tragedy to offer hope to someone who's hope was fading. By answering yes, we gave someone the miracle of a lifetime.
That is one of the reasons I believe in all aspects of organ donation. In face, I myself have registered to be an organ donor. The other was receiving two letters one from a mother of a young man who needed a kidney transplant, his was fading fast and then a miracle took place, he received another chance at life. The letter had me in tears, I was so happy that we were able to help save someone's life who otherwise would have passed away.
I then received a letter for the organ donor procurement center that covers the New England area. I found out that they were able to save the life of a father with two children who needed a heart, another person received his other kidney, they transplanted his cornea's giving some one the gift of sight. His tissues and bone helped 100 or more people lead better lives.
Just yesterday I received word that a young boy I know passed away suddenly and his father choose in his time of grief to honor the memory of his son by donating his organs. Losing my little buddy has been hard and I can comprehend how hard this was and will be for his father. Yet his son's death will not be in vain, in passing away my little buddy will live on by giving life to another child and hope to his family.