House Call: Organ Donations
More than 113,000 people across the nation are waiting for a life-saving transplant. One person can save the lives of as many as eight people. One individual can improve the lives of as many as 75 people through tissue donation. Joining WDTV for this week's House Call is Juanita Alfred, a nurse at UHC in the Education Department.
Organ transplantation is the surgical removal of an organ or tissues from one person (the donor) and placing it in another person (the recipient). Organ donation is when you allow your organs or tissues to be removed and given to someone else. Most donated organs and tissues are from people who have died. However, a living person can donate some organs, as well as blood, stem cells, and platelets can be donated.
The number of people needing a transplant continues to rise faster than the number of donors. On average, 20 people die every day from the lack of available organs for transplant. Another name is added to the national transplant waiting list every 10 minutes.
The good news is that one deceased donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation and can save and enhance more than 100 lives through the lifesaving and healing gift of tissue donation. In 2018 there were 36,528 transplants performed. That number has increased each year for the past six years.
There are no age limits on who can be an organ donor. Newborns as well as senior citizens have been organ donors. If you are younger than 18, you must have a parent's or guardian's consent. If you are 18 years or older, you can show you want to be an organ and tissue donor by signing a donor card. Carry the card in your wallet. In West Virginia, you can state your intent to be an organ donor on your driver's license and now West Virginia hunting and fishing license applications include the option to register as an organ donor.
If you want to be an organ donor, make sure your family knows your wishes. Your family may be asked to sign a consent form in order for your donation to occur. You may also want to tell your family doctor, lawyer, and religious leader that you would like to be a donor.
People with certain medical conditions cannot donate an organ. This includes people with: · HIV
· Actively spreading brain cancer
· Certain severe, current infections
In some cases, if you have another disease or chronic medical condition, you can still donate your organs.
Organs of the body that can be transplanted include: · Kidney
· Heart · Liver
· Lung · Pancreas · Intestines
People who are living can donate a kidney or part of the:
Tissues that can be donated include:
· Cornea (coating of the eyeball)
· Middle ear
· Heart valves
Stem cells, blood, and blood platelets can be donated.