Thousands of people die every year with end stage organ failure. The only way they can have a new lease of life is by having an organ transplant.
One donor can give life to a minimum of 8 people. There is a critical shortage of organs, and the gap between the number of organs donated and the number of patients waiting for a transplant is increasing. Right now, more than 1,00,000 people in India need an organ transplant and every year around 1,000 people die while waiting to find a donated organ. The need for donors has never been greater. Organ transplantation is one of the most miraculous achievements of modern Medical Science. But, it depends entirely on the generosity of donors and their families who are willing to make this life saving gift to others.
Many relatives say that they have found some comfort in knowing that the loss of their loved one has given someone else the chance to live. You are more likely to need a transplant than become a donor. The removal of organs is carried out with the same care and respect as any other operation.
Most donated organs come from people who are brain dead while on a ventilator in an Intensive Care Unit(ICU) following a severe brain injury. Doctors and nurses are committed to doing every thing possible to save life, and organ transplant procedures are initiated only after a patient is declared brain dead. Eye & Skin donation can be done upto 6hours after death. But the donation of other organs can happen only when the patient is declared brain dead, and the heart and lungs are kept working by a ventilator and other supportive drugs.
The term brain death is defined as "irreversibIe unconsciousness with complete loss of brain functions, “including the brain stem, although the heart beat may continue. Demonstration of brain death is the accepted legal criterion for establishing the fact and time of death according to Transplantation of Human Organ Act (THO) which was passed in 1994. Amendment to the Transplantation of Human Organs Rules, 1995
Anyone, regardless of age or religion, can donate organs and tissues. The age and health of a donor are not as important as the condition of the donor's organs and tissues.
A transplant team assesses the suitability of each donated organ and tissue, and matches them with people waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.
But, the transplant team does not get involved in either the testing or declaration of brain death, This is done by an independent as sessor approved by the government so there need not be any doubt that correct protocols are followed in deciding status of brain death.