A single donor’s act of kindness could very well save many lives.
Malaysians are a warm, generous and helpful bunch yet many of us are reluctant to donate our eyes, heart or liver upon our deaths. A recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report placed Malaysia as among the lowest in terms of organ donation. As of April 2012, only 194,846 of Malaysia’s 28 million signed up as organ donors.
Many blame backward cultural and religious beliefs or plain ignorance as the cause behind this sad state of affairs. Another could be that the topic of pledging one’s organs generally entails thinking about one’s own mortality. Either way, it’s unpleasant.
Yet pledging one’s organs is considered an act of charity whether from the Buddhist, Hindu, Christian or Islamic point of view. If one could extend the usefulness of our bodily organs for the benefit of another, then shouldn’t we? And what if you were the one in need of an organ? That certainly puts a different perspective on things, does it not?
When you pledge your organs or tissues, it is used to transplant or replace the diseased or defective organs and tissues of a patient in need. The most commonly transplanted organs are kidneys, heart, liver, lungs and pancreas while the most commonly transplanted tissues are the eyes, bones, skin and heart valves. As you can clearly see, a single donor’s act of kindness could very well save many lives.
Horror stories abound that doctors don’t work hard enough to save your life if they know you are a donor. In reality, every doctor is trained to save lives – yours, not someone else’s. Also the doctor in charge of you at the emergency ward has nothing to do with transplantation. The medical team also checks and double checks before certifying anyone dead especially when one is a donor. So any worries of suddenly waking up minus a liver is extremely unlikely.
Also no one is ever too old or too sick to pledge their organs. Numerous successful transplantations have been made using the organs of senior citizens. Also very few medical conditions automatically disqualify you from donating organs or tissues so don’t use a current illness as an excuse not to. The decision to use your organs is based on strict medical criteria and the doctor on duty at the time of your death will make the call on whether your organs and tissues are suitable for transplantation.
Obviously pledging one’s organs is harder for some people than others. It does require some soul searching on your part and hopefully this article has got you seriously thinking about it. If you do decide it’s time to make the biggest contribution of your life – that of giving others a second chance at theirs, click here for the National Organ Donor Registration Form.