So life go on

So life go on

Fifty years ago, transplantation of an organ from one person to another was the stuff of science fiction. Today organ transplantation is the treatment of choice for many diseases. For kidney-damaged patients. It relieves them form frequent dialysis. For liver, heart and lung failure it is life-saving. Eye donations help blind persons and children see his beautiful world. Blood donation has saved millions of lives.


You can donate tissues, organs or your own body fluids.

  • Organs – Kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, intestines, pancreas etc.
  • Tissues – Skin, bones cornea (eye), bone marrow etc.
  • Body fluids – Blood, semen etc.



When you are living, you can donate one kidney (one kidney is enough for our body), part of the liver (30 per cent of lover tissue is sufficient for our body), blood or semen (can be stored in a semen bank like blood banks).

After death you can donate whatever organ or tissue you wish – kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, the cornea, bones, pancreas etc. Eye/blood donations are easier than transplants of the kidney, liver, heart or lungs. The latter are very complicated and require sophisticated infrastructure and trained personnel to be carried out.

The technique of transplanting human organs allows over 3.000 patients with terminal illnesses to take on a new lease of life in the UK and have a full healthy lifestyle (with few medicines as immnusuppression to allow the new organ to stay in the body) But in India, in spite of being one of the most popular countries in the world, many people die due to diseases which otherwise could have been arrested by organ transplantation.

The two most important obstacles faced are

(1) Lack of awareness in the people that organ donation after death can give life to the needy patients and

(2) Cost of treatment involved. Not many people are in a position to afford it. Still, it costs much less than in any European/Western country.

Transplants are now so successful that many more patients can be considered for treatment this way. Manny names are being added each week to the waiting list and there are more patients than organs available due to Iliteracy, ignorance and the callous attitude towards organ donation.

The time has come now to spread awareness. In order to bridge the gap between those awaiting transplants and the number of available donors, many more of us need to say, “When I die, you can have my organs for transplantations”. After all, when we die we don’t need them any more, so why bum or bury something that can give life to others? One donor can give life to several different people and restore the sight of two more.Once you come to this decision you need to share it with somebody who is close to you. In this way should the occasion arise, no one needs to hesitate for want of knowing your wishes.

Most of the organ donation come from patients who are certified brain dead while in hospital intensive care unit (ICU) as a result of sudden trauma or injury to the head. Few people die in this precise manner, which is why there is great shortage of donor organs for transplant.

Another thing is – not every person who has expressed a will to be an organ donor will die in the circumstances which make donation possible. The cause of death is important when considering a possible donor, so is the place in which death occurs. The broad criteria for organ donation are that the patient:

  • Is brain stem dead.
  • Is less than 65 years of age.
  • Has no high risk factors for HIV hepatitis B and C,
  • Has no untreated infection/sepsis.
  • Has no history of malignancy/cancer except primary brain tumour.


IF you think you would like to help others by organ donation know a few things. The series of questions and answers will solve the doubts you may have and will help you leave a wonderful legacy of life for others. When was the first transplant performed?

  • A cornea was transplanted in 1905.
  • Blood transfusion was established in 1918.
  • The first successful kidney transplant was performed in 1967.
  • The first liver transplant was performed in 1968.


What can be transplanted?

The kidneys, the liver, the heart, the lungs, the pancreas, the small intestines, the cornea, heart valves and bones can be transplanted. Skin can be used to treat patients with severe burns.

How do they know that you are really dead?

Two different doctors have to carry out a series of tests independently in order to confirm that the patient is ‘brain stem dead,. These standards are defined medically and are accepted legally and ethically. Brain stem death usually results because of severe trauma to the brain which causes the brain stem to die This could be the result of a major toad accident resulting is head injury or by a fatal stroke when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted.

Can’t they keep you alive with machines?

Machines can keep the blood circulating after death and this allows organs to be used for transplantation, but a patient who is brain dead cannot recover.

Will they just let you die if they know you want to be a donor?

No,The doctors looking after a patient have to make every possible effort to save the patient’s life. That is their first duty. If despite their efforts, the patient dies and is certified brain stem dead, only then can organ donation be considere3d and a completely different team of doctors will be called in.

Why is there a waiting list for donors?

The transplants are so successful nowadays that more and more patients can be considered for treatment this way. There are not an enough number of donors to match the number of donors to match the number of patients waiting for transplants.

Can you donate an organ while you are still alive?

Yes, In some cases. The most common is the kidney as it is possible to live a normal life style with only one kidney. Part of the liver also can be transplanted and it is possible to donate part of one’s lungs and small intestines. Live donations are almost always between close relatives, often between close relatives. Often between parent and child, or siblings, because the blood compatibility and tissue type matching gives higher possibility of success of transplant.

Can you donate even if you are under the age of 16?

Yes, If the person has expressed such a will and the parents agree to the donation.

Can older people be donors?

In the case of the cornea and bone donation, age does not matter. For other organs, it is the person’s physical condition, not the age, which is the deciding factor. Doctors decide in each case whether it is possible to use them.

Does the colour of the skin makes a difference?

To some extent. Successful transplants are frequently carried out between people form different races, wherever the matching criteria are met. There is a better chance of getting a very close match if the donor and recipient are of the same race, so it is important that we have donors from all races. HLA tissue type matching is required for a kidney transplant.But only blood group matching is required for a liver transplant.

Can I be a donor if I have an existing medical problem?

Having a medical problem does not necessarily prevent a person from becoming a donor. The decision about whether organs or tissues are suitable for transplant is made by the doctors, when a person is identified as a potential donor, taking into account the medical history.

Can I donate some organs and not others?

Yes, you cam specify which organs you wish to donate.

Should I put my wishes in my will?

By the time your will is read, it will be far too late for you to become a donor.

Would a transplant patient ever know who the donor was?

No, Confidentiality is always maintained, except in living donations, which are usually within the family.

Are there any religious objections to transplants?

No, Major religious groups approve and support organ transplants as it is consistent with life-preserving traditions. However if you have any doubts, you should discuss them with your own spiritual or religious leader.

Does organ have the body disfigured?

No, The recovery of the organs and tissues is carried out with great care by surgeons and trained staff and does not disfigure the body or interfere with funeral plans.

Are donors screened for any transmittable diseases?

Yes, This is done by checking blood samples of donors beforehand for any viral infections. HIV or hepatitis. However the family of the donor is made aware of all the procedures required.

Can people buy or sell organs?

No, The Human Organ Transplant Act 1989 absolutely prohibits such activity.

Does the family of the donor have to pay for the cost of donation?


Will the hospital pay for the cost of the funeral?

No. Funeral costs are met either by the family of the person’s estate and not form the hospital or any government authority.

Does being a donor cause delay for funeral arrangements?

No, Once the relatives have agreed, everything has to be done very quickly to improve the chances of successful transplant, usually within a few hours.

How is a transplantation organized?

The patients in need of organs by transplantation treatment are wait-listed. When brain stem death has been confirmed in a patient who could be considered a potential donor, the local transplant co-ordinator is contacted. The co-ordinator then checks the history of the donor to confirm that there is no medical or social contradiction for the donation. They also confirm with the next of kin that they agree to the donation.

Suitable patients are identified and located from the computerized waiting list and the doctors at those transplant units are alerted and asked to confirm acceptance of the organ. As they do so, the preparation of their patient for transplant operation begins.

A team of specialist surgeons is called to the donor’s hospital to carry out the surgery to remove and preserve the organs for transplant to the transplant unit, it necessary, special transport arrangements have to be made to ensure no time is lost between retrieval of the organs and transplantation.

It can happen that when a donor’s organs are examined, they are found to be affected by disease or damaged in some way which makes them unsuitable for transplant. This will mean that the waiting patient’s hopes are dashed and that their wait for the organ continues. If all is well the organ is carried to the transplant unit and transplanted immediately and transplanted immediately and the process of recovery and new life begins.

For more information :

– Dr. Rajesh Tandulwadkar

Mail directly at

Call @ 9822021117