Organ donation – who, what, why?

Living and giving life sounds heartwarming but what is this all really about?

The point of our project is to come up with new ideas on how to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation. We’re working together with the Finnish tissue bank and cell center Regea. We have a lot of brainstorming, demo developing and testing ahead of us but before we get there, let’s take a look at organ donations.

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Who can be a donor?

Everyone can sign up to be a potential donor. According to the law, organs and tissues of a deceased person may be removed and donated if he/she hasn’t opposed before death. Doctors estimate whether the person is suitable to be a donor, and there is no set age limit for the donation. Some tissues and for example kidney can be donated alive too.

Why should I sign up to be a donor if it is automatic anyway?

Even though everyone can be a donor, doctors still have to make sure that the deceased hasn’t refused donating. Therefore the law hasn’t in fact improved the organ donation situation.

Stating your will explicitly makes the situation much easier for the family and fastens the donation process crucially. That’s why it is very important to make your consent clear.

What will be donated?

There are two types of donations. Organs like kidney, liver, heart, lungs, pancreas and small intestine usually come from braindead people. In general every organ donor can also donate tissues. Tissue donations include eg. cornea, bones, tendons and cartilage, and donors can be deceased or in some cases alive – for example bone tissue can be donated during a hip surgery.

What about the receivers?

Organ donations save lives. Receivers suffer from serious heart, kidney, liver, lung or intestine diseases, where organ transfer is the best and sometimes the only possible treatment. There were 399 organ transfers conducted last year, and in general more than 90 percent of organ transfers are successful.

Tissue transplants are used to treat diseases and injuries. These cases aren’t usually life-threatening, but tissue transfer speeds up the recovery process and improves the quality of life. For example a cornea transplant can restore receiver’s eyesight and heart valves are used to cure different kinds of valvular heart diseases.

There is a continuous shortage on organs, and every year 5-10 percent of the people waiting for a transplant die because a suitable organ wasn’t received in time.

So, what should I do?

You can save lives by signing the organ donation card, downloading the organ donation mobile app or even just saying your consent out loud to your family. It’s that simple.

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Our driving force in Live Life, Give Life project is to make a change that matters. Join us on the road by spreading the word, commenting and throwing in ideas here or just following our project. And most importantly, sign the card and let your closest ones know!


References:

http://www.kyllaelinluovutukselle.fi

http://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/ajantasa/2001/20010101

http://www.hus.fi/sairaanhoito/sairaanhoitopalvelut/elinsiirrot/sivut/default.aspx?redirected=1