At an early age of 16, a kid ended up on the hospital bed in a critical medical condition. The only hope of his survival was an organ transplant. Unfortunately, sincere medical attempts to save his life proved futile due to lack of donors. This has been the scenario in the past few years. For, the reports show a rise in the number of patients lining up for organ transplantation, as this is their only hope of survival. Hence, the need of the hour is to create awareness amongst the young and old alike on the significance of donating an organ.
The public hesitates to make the move and pledge their organs due to the deeply invested myths that they harbor in their hearts. One of their fears is that, once they are registered as an organ donor the doctors might turn unethical and focus on getting an organ rather than saving their lives. However, this certainly is not true, as the doctor’s main priority is to save the lives of the patient regardless of them being a donor or not. Also, the medical team and the transplant team are two different entities, which come together only after the consent of the family of the donor is procured and the process is on. The team coordinating the donation is not notified until all lifesaving efforts have failed and death has been determined. In addition to this, the religious beliefs do pose too great a problem to be tackled. The common belief is that if the last rituals of the deceased are not done with his body parts intact, his soul will never attain peace in the world of the spirits. How would the kith and the kin of the dead take a chance in this case, especially, when ‘life after death’ is a mystery still unearthed? Then again all religions support organ donation as an act of charity including Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam.
People are afraid that the organs donated may not be used appropriately and that they do not have a healthy organ. They are reluctant to donate their organs due to the apprehension of being too old or too young to donate. Sometimes they are also concerned about the cost involved in organ donations. These may not stand true if proper facts are presented to the societies. The organs are preserved until a suitable recipient is found. Organs of every age can be donated and it is up to the doctors to decide whether the organ can be donated or not. Costs associated with recovering and processing organs and tissues for transplant are never passed on to the donor family. The family may be expected to pay for medical expenses incurred before death is declared but not for the donation of the organ.
There are multiple organs that can be donated for example, liver, heart, kidney, lungs, pancreas and the bowel (small intestine). People who decide to donate their organs are registered online or with an organ donation foundation. They have a donor card along with them. In some countries organ donation is an option when signing up for a driving license. Although organ donation only takes place under certain circumstances it is a great way to help those in need without any harm to self. For organ donation to take place successfully the donor should die in the hospital or under brain death. Brain death is an irreversible brain damage causing the end of independent respiration. During brain death the organs of a person are still working fine, the patient is put on ventilation in the hospital. The organs are only extracted when the families’ approval has been obtained. The organs are immediately preserved under prescribed conditions and notified to database of the organ recipients. If the donor or the family of the donor wishes they can keep the details of the donor confidential to the recipient.
In Jakarta, there are no major centers for organ donation, as a generic search on the Internet yielded no major results. This might be due to the fact that organ donation awareness has not been a priority of the administration or might also reflect the poor health care needs of the local population. Most of the affluent citizens prefer to go abroad for medical treatments as it is considered there are not many sophisticated medical technologies available here. Organ donation has seen an increasing trend with the development of society. In Indonesia as the society and economy grows awareness should increasingly be focused on healthy lifestyle and high-end medical treatments like organ transplants. The authorities may consider creating a centralized network of centers across Indonesia dedicated to Organ Donation, perseverance and transplant. Such a centralized system can help create awareness, promote organ donations and develop a sustainable way to mitigate risks of deaths caused due to lack of organ transplant. In today’s world of social media and mobile applications it might not be very tough to create awareness on organ donations and transplants.
If the requirement of organ donation for the 16 year old kid had found a suitable platform on social media or on any nominated platform, there might be many donors who would have come forward willing do donate organs. The list of recipients is long and it is never to late to donate.
By Priya Agarwal
Grade X, GMIS