WHEN THE END LEADS TO A NEW BE­GIN­NING

Central and North Burnett Times - - READ -

Sur­geons can only re­trieve or­gans and tis­sues when the donor pa­tient dies. Ac­cord­ing to the Aus­tralian Or­gan and Tis­sue Dona­tion and Trans­plan­ta­tion Au­thor­ity Act, death means “ir­re­versible ces­sa­tion” of all func­tion of the brain or cir­cu­la­tion of blood. In other words, blood is no longer flow­ing to the brain, caus­ing the body’s most com­plex or­gan to stop work­ing (brain death); or a per­son has stopped breath­ing and their heart has stopped beat­ing (cir­cu­la­tory death). No body part may be re­moved be­fore the donor’s death is con­firmed by two se­nior doc­tors who must not be par­tic­i­pat­ing in the dona­tion or trans­plan­ta­tion surgery. If some­one dies in a re­gional in­ten­sive care unit, specialist retrieval teams are flown to the hospi­tal where they op­er­ate to re­move the or­gans from de­ceased pa­tients. The or­gans are then trans­ported – by jet or he­li­copter – to the trans­plant hos­pi­tals in NSW, QLD, SA or WA. A donor who was in ex­tremely good health be­fore their death may pro­vide their heart, lungs, liver, kid­neys, in­testines and pan­creas. Doc­tors may also re­trieve heart valves and other heart tis­sue, bone, skin tis­sue and parts of the eye. De­pend­ing on the num­ber of or­gans and tis­sues to be re­trieved, a retrieval op­er­a­tion may take up to eight hours. Hearts and lungs must be trans­planted into the re­cip­i­ents within six hours. Sur­geons have about 12 hours to trans­plant livers and about 24 hours to place kid­neys or tis­sue such as corneas into their new bodies.

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