Organ transplantation has been called one of the most miraculous advancements in medicine. There are thousands of transplant recipients living full lives in this area and are well today after being told they only had months to live. The transplant process is not easy. Some candidates have a seemingly endless wait for an available organ, while others face the difficult task of relying on caregivers for support before, during and after surgery.
Who can be a donor?
Anyone, regardless of age, race, or gender can become an organ donor. Organs and tissue that can’t be used for transplantation, due to advanced age or disease, can often be used in scientific research designed to help find cures for serious illnesses.
How do I become a donor?
1. Tell your family. Hospitals will not remove any organs or tissue without permission from the donor’s family.
2. Join the Ohio Organ Donor Registry when renewing your driver’s license, or online at http://www.donatelifeohio.org/
How are organ donor recipients selected?
Law under the National Transplant Act strictly mandates the selection process. A carefully monitored system allows full and equal access to donated organs and tissues for all potential recipients.
Criteria for deciding which person on the waiting list will receive organs or tissues from a particular donor depends on factors such as the tissue and blood type, body size and the degree of illness of the potential recipient.
Will organ/tissue donation affect the level of medical care my loved one receives?
No. Donation is never considered until all efforts to save your loved one have failed.
Is there a conflict between using any organs/tissues and saving my life?
No. Donation is not considered until absolutely all efforts to save a person’s life have failed. The transplant team has no involvement in the patient’s care prior to death and is notified only after death has occurred.
How does the family communicate an individual’s wish to donate organs/tissues?
Federal law states that hospitals must offer you the option of donating your loved one’s organs. But don’t wait to be asked. Approach the hospital staff or coroner’s staff and make your loved one’s wishes known.
Is there any cost or payment for organ/tissue donation?
No. The donor’s family estate is never charged for the removal of any organs, nor do they receive any compensation.
Does organ/tissue donation affect funeral practices?
No. Families may make final funeral arrangements, including an open casket funeral, for burial or cremation.
What organs/tissues can be donated?
Organs that can be donated are the heart, lungs, liver, pancreas and kidneys.
Tissues which can be donated:
1. corneas to restore sight,
2. bone to prevent amputation
3. heart valves for children born with heart problems or adults with heart disease,
4. tendons to replace damaged tissues in injured joints,
5. saphenous veins for bypass surgeries
6. skin as a temporary covering to reduce pain and infection in burn victims.
It is important to note that up to 50 people can benefit from a single donor.
How is donation viewed by my religion?
All major western religions support donation as a final, charitable act of giving to others.
What if I change my mind?
You may ask to remove your name from the Ohio Organ Donor Registry at any time online by visiting http://www.donatelifeohio.org/donate.html and clicking on the button to modify Donor Registration.
The Donor Registry is a computerized database that documents your wishes regarding donation. The Registry provides valuable information to families who are unaware of a loved one’s intentions and are asked at the hospital for consent donate.
All information is confidential. Only organ banks and coroners have access.
How do I join the Ohio Organ Donor Registry?
When you visit the Driver’s Services facility at the Department of Motor Vehicles, you will be asked if you would like to be an organ donor. Your response is entered on your record. You may also register via the Internet by accessing the online application form at http://www.donatelifeohio.org/donate.html
FACTS FAMILIES SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DONATION
Today, all across Ohio, thousands of people are able to live fuller and more productive lives because of the lifesaving decisions made by families like yours. Although it is hard to believe at the time, it is possible for something positive to come from death…a new life for someone else.
Many donor families have found comfort in knowing that they and their loved one have helped life go on for someone else.
Families of prospective donors must give their permission before donation of a loved one’s organs and tissues can occur. It is much easier for your family to make the decision to donate if they know your wishes ahead of time.
In Ohio there are four independent organ procurement organizations, federally designated to facilitate the organ donation process at hospitals throughout the Ohio’s 88 counties: