Become an Organ Donor
Be the answer to someone’s prayer - World Organ Month - August 2020
By Sammy Nandlall
Organ Donation Day was observed on August 13 with the aim to encourage communities to come forth and register as organ donors and save precious lives that are lost due to organ failure.
The day provides an opportunity to educate and eliminate the fears, perceptions and myths people have about organ donation. Organ donation can be life-changing for many. The practice can give a new life to the ones in need. Often people would want to receive an organ but are unwilling to donate or register as organ donors.
The aim of this day/month is to advocate and motivate people to pledge to donate their organs after death. The aim is to create awareness about the massive population that dies due to organ failure, as a result of organ shortage in South Africa.
Organ donation is the medical process of taking an organ from a deceased person, with the consent of their family and friends, and surgically transplanting it into another person who is in dire need of an organ.
FEARS & MISCONCEPTIONS
There are many fears and misconceptions about organ donation. These prevent people from considering donating their organs when they die.
Here are a few misconceptions:
Will the donation delay the funeral?
No. The body is returned to the family for burial or cremation as soon as the donated organs and/or and tissues have been removed.
Will the donation leave my body disfigured?
No. Extreme amounts of respect and dignity is given to every single donor. The method of removing the organs and tissues is done so with such great care that the process does not change the body’s appearance.
Are there any religious obligations to organ transplantation?
Most religious approve and support of organ donation as it is consistent with life preservation. If you are ever unsure, ask your spiritual leader.
The reality is that organ donors save lives. Organ Donation is made possible by people who voluntary decide to donate their organs and tissue for transplantation. There are two types of transplants, organ, and tissue transplants.
The organs (heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and lungs) can save 7 lives.
The tissues (corneas, bone, tendons, heart valves, skin) can help up to 50 people.
By becoming a donor, a person has the potential to help over 50 people when they die.
They can help give life once theirs has come to an end.
You do not have to donate all your organs when you die.
You can specify what you want to donate.
WHO CAN BE A DONOR?
The sad reality, the need for life-saving organ transplants is increasing much faster than the organs are becoming available. Organ transplants have saved millions of lives, but every day, more critically ill patients are added to the national waiting list.
However, by becoming an organ donor you can possibly be the difference between life or death for someone else.
Here’s how you can become an organ donor.
Anyone, irrespective of age can have their organs donated. The health of the organs is more important than the age of the person.
New-born babies and even the elderly have been organ donors. If a donor is under the age of 18, the consent of a parent or legal guardian is required.
A person is legible to become an organ donor if:
They are in good physical and mental health condition
They are willing to donate out of kindness, without expecting anything in return
They are not donating under compulsion
They are aware of the process of organ donation, the benefits as well as the risks
HOW TO BECOME AN ORGAN DONOR
By becoming a donor, you can be the difference between life or death for someone else. The process is very simple, just follow these easy steps:
Register online at www.odf.org.za or call the Organ Donor Foundation’s
on toll-free number – 0800 22 66 11.
You will then be sent an organ donor card which you will need to fill out. Always carry this card with you. It is suggested you keep it in your wallet or purse.
You will receive stickers to place on your ID document and driver’s license.
Discuss your decision with your family so they are aware that you are now an organ donor. Ask your loved ones to respect and honour your decision. It is very important that you make the people around you aware of your wishes.
Set up a living will in which you indicate your wishes to donate your organs should you die.
HOW MUCH WILL DONATION COST?
Donation costs absolutely nothing. By our laws, the Hospital and or Tissue Bank will cover all medical expenses from the moment your family gives consent to have your organs/tissue donated.
The donor and their family do not receive any compensation for donating any organs or tissue. Donation is a gift and should come from kindness.
YOU CAN ALWAYS CHANGE YOUR MIND
At the end of the day, organ donation is a personal choice. If you change your mind, you will need to tear up your donor card and remove the stickers from your ID and driver’s license. You must also inform your family and friends that you no longer wish to donate your organs or tissues when you die. It is as simple as that.
The mission of the ODF:
To raise awareness amongst the entire South African population about the need for, and the benefits of, organ and tissue donation and transplantation. The number of people awaiting transplants continues to increase. The shortage of potential donors remains a great concern.
So, go on an save a life, register today as an organ donor.
Organ donation is not a tragedy. But it can be a beautiful light in the midst of one.
Volunteer Ambassador’s for the ODF, Sammy Nandlall