Be­com­ing an or­gan donor saves lives

Vuk'uzenzele - - Youhtehalftohcus - How do you reg­is­ter to be­come an or­gan donor? Who can sign up as a donor? Do I need med­i­cal tests to reg­is­ter as a donor? Are there any costs in­volved in be­com­ing a donor? Can I change my mind about be­ing a donor? What or­gans can be do­nated? How soon aft

Au­Gust Is NA­tIoNAl Or­gan Donor Month and the per­fect time to sign up to be­come an or­gan donor.

While around 4 300 South Africans are wait­ing for or­gan and cornea trans­plants, less than 0.2 per cent of South Africans are reg­is­tered or­gan donors.

Did you know that by sign­ing up to be­come an or­gan donor, you could save up to seven lives and help alle­vi­ate the dire short­age of avail­able or­gans? donors who had signed up to the na­tional or­gan donor registry.

This is done via the Or­gan Do­na­tion Foun­da­tion of South Africa. Donors are given a donor card and a sticker for their iden­tity doc­u­ment and driver’s li­cence to iden­tify them as a po­ten­tial donor. Once an or­gan be­comes avail­able for trans­plant, all suit­able re­cip­i­ents that match the donor’s blood group will be cross-matched against the donor. In ad­di­tion to time on the wait­ing list, other fac­tors such as age, pre­vi­ous trans­plants and cur­rent health are taken into con­sid­er­a­tion when al­lo­cat­ing the or­gan.

The donor’s fam­ily will then be re­quired to give con­sent for the or­gans to be har­vested. It is there­fore im­por­tant for donors to in­form fam­ily and friends of their de­ci­sion to be­come a donor. You can reg­is­ter on­line at www.odf.org.za or call the Or­gan Donor Foun­da­tion’s toll free line on 0800 22 66 11. Any­one who is in good health and clear of any con­di­tions that may af­fect the re­cip­i­ent. Med­i­cal tests are only car­ried out at the time of death.

Sign­ing up to be­come a donor will not cost you or your fam­ily any­thing and is com­pletely free. The hos­pi­tal cov­ers all med­i­cal ex­penses once your fam­ily gives con­sent for the do­na­tion. Donors can change their mind at any time. Your heart, liver and pan­creas can save up to three lives, while your kid­neys and lungs can help up to four peo­ple. You can also opt to do­nate only cer­tain or­gans. Here you must in­form your fam­ily which or­gans you do not want to do­nate. It is crit­i­cal that your or­gans are re­moved as soon as pos­si­ble af­ter brain death has been de­clared in or­der to en­sure every pos­si­ble chance of a suc­cess­ful trans­plant. By law two in­de­pen­dent doc­tors will need to cer­tify brain death.

One or­gan donor save seven lives.

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