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Health & Fitness

What is organ donation and how to become an organ donor?

In organ donation, a person pledges during her/his lifetime, that after death, certain (or all) organs from the body can be used for transplantation to help terminally ill patients get a new lease of life. Organs that can be donated include kidneys, liver, pancreas, lungs and heart, while tissue constitutes eyes, skin, bone, bone marrow, nerves, brain, heart valves, eardrum, ear bones and blood

Organ donations are legal by Indian law. The Indian government enacted the Transplantation of Human Organs Act (THOA), 1994, which allows organ donation, and legalized the concept of ‘brain death’.

In India, a panel of 4 doctors has to declare you brain dead before your organs can be harvested – this is done after a series of exhaustive tests – Cornea reflex test, Ear reflex test, Gag reflex test and Aphena reflex test – which are repeated twice in a time frame of six hours. The panel must include – the medical administrator in charge of the hospital, an authorized specialist, a neurologist/neuro-surgeon and the medical officer treating patient. In most countries around the world, these tests are done only once.

Healthy organs should be transplanted as soon as possible from the donor to the recipient. Organs must be removed as soon as possible after the determination of brain death, while circulation is being maintained artificially. Tissues may be removed within 12 to 24 hours.

The donor’s family doesn’t have to bear any expenses for organ or tissue donation. All costs pertaining to the organ transplant surgery will be handled by the recipient’s family or the organ transplant program.

Organ donation waiting lists are made according to the severity of the illness, blood type, and time spent waiting in every hospital.

HOW TO BECOME AN ORGAN DONOR

To be an organ donor, it is important to register by signing up for Organ Donation. One needs to fill a prescribed consent form, which can either be downloaded from National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO) website or accessed from the medical facility that is approached for organ removal. In case of deceased donation, a written consent form from the lawful custodian of the body after the death of the patient is required in a prescribed application form. In India, after a person carrying a donor card dies, the family still needs to approve the donation of organs

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