Are you an organ donor?
We all like to be generous in life, but what about when we die? Hundreds of people are awaiting donor organs and relying on the generosity of strangers to save their lives.
It’s Organ Donor Awareness Week, so here are 7 things that might turn you into an organ donor today…
Did you know that just ONE organ donor could save up to five lives?
Think of it as a “circle of life” kind of deal: you lose your life, but you can still save others.
Only 10% of people who need a new organ will get one. Across Europe, someone in need of a transplant dies every 10 hours – that’s around 5,500 people each year.
Organs that are suitable for transplant are the kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, pancreas, corneas, and heart valves.
The Irish Kidney Association said that 2013 has been a record year for organ transplants in Ireland, with 293 organs transplanted compared to the previous record of 275 in 2011.
In 2013, the total number of donors in Ireland was 86 deceased and 38 live donors. There were 255 solid organ transplants performed – 147 kidney, 55 liver, 32 lung, 11 heart, and 10 pancreas.
All organ donors in Ireland are people who have died in hospital while on a ventilator, where death is determined by the absence of brain function. Two doctors, who must be independent of the transplantation, carry out brain stem tests to determine this.
It can be hard to think about what’s going to happen to your body after you die, let alone donating your organs and tissues. People are often worried about how it will affect their funeral. But organ donation will not alter the exterior appearance of your body after the procedure is complete. Organ donors are fully able to have open-casket funerals. Being an organ donor will not change what happens to your body after death in any way, besides the initial procedure at the hospital where you are taken when/after you die.
You can even update your status on Facebook! You can share your plans to be an organ donor on your timeline.
In the status box, click ‘Life Event’. From the drop-down menu, select ‘Health and Wellbeing’. From there, you can make your wishes to be an organ donor known, and even share information about why you have made the decision.
Remember, in Ireland consent is never presumed, even if a donor card has been signed. Your next-of-kin would always be consulted and asked for their consent in order for donation to proceed. Make sure you have discussed your wishes with those close to you.
Do you want to make a difference? Freetext DONOR to 50050 to request an Organ Donor Card. You can also get an e-donor card: the card is available as an iPhone and Android App called ‘Organ Donor ECard’.
Visit the Irish Kidney Association website at www.ika.ie for full information on organ donation.