Most people breathe their last everyday because of non-functioning of vital organs. Organ donations come to rescue of such people. It can help to save 8 lives by donation of organs like heart, lungs, kidneys, pancreas, liver, stomach, small bowel and enhance the lives of 50 people by tissue donations like cornea, bone, heart valves, skin, tendons that help rebuilt joints.
As per the statics of DNA newspaper in 2011, around 40,000 people in Maharashtra are awaiting kidney transplant and as per the National Association for the Blind (NAB), around 1, 00,000 people in India are awaiting eye transplant. So let’s take a look at some factors why in a country with a population over 1.22 billion the rate of organ donation rate is so low.
Awareness: As per WHO, 1.3 million people die due to road accidents every year. There are possibilities of brain death among such cases. Brain death is an irreversible end of all brain activity where the brain swells and obstructs its own blood flow. Without blood flow, all brain tissues die. Artificial support system may maintain functions such as heartbeats and breathing but for few days, not permanently. It is a common state in which organs can be retrieved. But there are very few people who are aware about it. Thus creating awareness is the biggest hurdle to surpass. Any person who has already signed for organ donation should always carry the card given to them proving them as a donor, thus needy in cases of accidental death.
Ethical aspects: While the patient has been declared dead, there is still blood flow to the body and the person looks normal enough breathing with life. It’s important to understand the family’s condition who has suffered such an emotional loss due to death of a loved one. Donating organs could breathe a new lease of life to patients in need of
organ donations. As per the medical guidelines the family should be requested for organs, but not forced.
Superstitious beliefs: Another major hurdle in India is the superstition attached to death and reincarnation in India. Many people believe in afterlife and feel that organ donation could lead to the body not being ‘whole’. The only way to counter this is to raise the level of awareness about organ donation. It’s important to note that world’s major religions consider organ donation to be deeply altruistic gesture.
Other remedial steps: Following the Spanish or Singaporean law of compulsorily recovering the organs of all patients who had not even opted for it when they were alive. However this initiative may seen too radical in India. If people are made aware about the potential of imparting lives to such a great number and if each and every one of us pledges to donate our organs, the transplant scenario will change completely.