by Alfie D'Souza, Team Mangalorean
Mangalore: When I got my driver's licence in Illinois, USA in the year 1995, I offered myself to be a Organ Donor. Within few days I received a letter from the Secretary of State, Illinois Driver's Licence Facility, thanking me for my generous thoughts and concern towards fellow humans who are in drastic need of organs.
I even agreed to be a living organ donor, if someone is desperately need of organ that matches mine. Even today I have a great sense of feeling that someday after my death a few of my body parts will help those who are in need.
Yes, organ donors are always in short supply. There are far more people in need of a transplant than there are people willing to donate an organ. At this moment, thousands and thousands of people are waiting for an organ. Each of these people is in desperate need of a kidney, liver, heart or other organ.
Unfortunately, many die before a organ ever becomes available. Most of the organs come from deceased donors. When you sign for organ donor through your driver's licence, you are agreeing to donate all or some of your organs if you die. You might have wondered about donating an organ -- either to a friend, relative or a stranger who needs an organ right now, or by filling out an organ donor card.
But before you decide to become a organ donor, you need to know some basic facts ; Any one, at any age can become a organ donor -- but minors need to have consent of a parent or guardian. For organ donation after death, a medical assessment will be done to determine what organs can be donated.
But having some serious health issues like HIV, diabetes, kidney disease, or heart related symptoms can prevent you from donating as a living donor. Let your donating transplant team know about any health conditions you have at beginning of the process. They can decide whether you're a good candidate. To become a living donor, you can either work directly with your family member, or friend's transplant team, or contact a transplant center in your area to find out who is in need of an organ.
I am glad that the Karnataka State Transport Department has decided to incorporate organ donor pledge through driver's licence.
You want to donate your organs, but not sure what's the process of organ pledging. Due to lack of awareness has resulted in more than 1,000 people pledging their organs in the last four years.With too many road accidents being the ultimate cause of most untimely deaths in Karnataka, the State Transport Department has come up with a novel idea of facilitating organ pledging during the time of driving licence issuance.
This initiative which is very popular in the West, we can only hope that it would sensitise people here in Karnataka State.
After hectic parleys with various departments and non-governmental organisation' Gift Your Organ Foundation ', the department decided to set the campaign rolling on a pilot basis from July 23 at the Electronic City Regional Transport Office, Bangalore , according to sources. Every aspirant for a driving licence would be given a pledge form and asked to make a choice.
If the applicant wished to pledge, a green sticker, displaying “Organ Donor” in Kannada and English, along with a green heart with ribbons, would be pasted on the licence. The department had collaborated with the State Health and Family Welfare and Zonal Coordination Committee of Karnataka (ZCCK) for Organ Transplantation, according to sources.
It is also learnt that out of the 815 persons enrolled with ZCCK seeking organs, 690 are waiting for kidney and 82 for liver. From its inception till date, the organisation had coordinated 38 organ donations, of which eight were during this year. A pledge, however, does not automatically authorise the government to harvest organs upon untimely/ brain death of the donor.
Consent of the family members is mandatory even as representatives from ZCCK will counsel them about organ donation . It is also noted that in January alone, there were 1,13,952 applicants for driving licence, either applying for fresh ones or for renewals. Even if half of them choose to pledge their organs, the number of pledges in one month will be 55 times that of the number of pledges received by ZCCK over the last four years.
All I can say is that this initiative taken by the State transport authorities is really a welcome move in creating awareness and popularising the concept of organ donation. Also that lack of awareness and delay by hospitals in certifying brain death were affecting cadaveric organ transplants. The outcome of this project will come to limelight once the project kicks off on July 23.