Become an Organ Donor

Times of India is running an Organ Donation campaign. I think it is a wonderful initiative and everyone should participate in it. You can sign up as a donor by visiting this FB page - and use their app to invite more of your friends to sign up as an organ donor. TOI will donate 10,000 rupees to NGOs of your choice if you are able to get more friends to sign up. You can also register to donate your organs by visiting this website - Please note I am not in anyway connected with TOI, but I think the initiative is really commendable.

An organ donor has the potential to save 8 lives. Many people have reservations about organ donations, be it due to concerns about what would happen to their body after their death, or due to religious beliefs or just the fact that does this really work?

Here are some of the major concerns regarding Organ Donations and my attempts to address them:-

1) If I meet with an accident and am listed as an organ donor, the medical authorities would not strive hard to save my life - Every doctor in India takes the modern version of the Hippocratic Oath (source - IMA website). Here's what it says:-

  • I solemnly pledge myself to consecrate my life to service of humanity.
  • Even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of Humanity.
  • I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception.
  • I will not permit considerations of religion, nationality, race, party politics or social standing to intervene between my duty and my patient.
  • I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity.
  • The health of my patient will be my first consideration.
  • I will respect the secrets which are confined in me.
  • I will give to my teachers the respect and gratitude which is their due.
  • I will maintain by all means in my power, the honour and noble traditions of medical profession.
  • I will treat my colleagues with all respect and dignity.
  • I shall abide by the code of medical ethics as enunciated in the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations 2002.
  • I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honour.

Yes, there are issue with medical practice but no doctor would attempt to neglect you or kill you if you are an organ donor.

2) Organ Donation is against my Religion - Religion is to guide and help mankind. Every religion talks of compassion and of the joy of helping others. The act of organ donation is consistent with beliefs of almost all religions, still, if you doubt it, consult with a religious guru who can dispel your doubts.

3) I am not in good health, who would want my organs? or I am too old, my organs couldn't possibly help anyone?  - You may be suffering from a kidney disease but your eyes maybe in perfect condition to help someone who needs a corneal transplant. You maybe old but the state of your organs maybe perfectly fine. If you want to donate your organs, go ahead. We cannot predict the state of our organs at the time of our death. A medical practitioner is best qualified to take that decision. Let him/her decide when the time comes.

4) India is full of corruption, so I donate my organs, what if it doesn't reach the right person? - I agree that India is full of corruption at present but we always hope for the best. Maybe, times would be different in the future, when our death comes. As a donor, be it an organ donor, or just a normal donor, whenever you donate something, your intent matters and the worthiness of the receiver matters. By worthiness of the receiver, it means whether the receiver really needs help or are you just thrusting something at someone in the name of help? Donations are done with the intent to help another person..and our duty to an extent ends there. If the one who is given, is not worthy, its not really our fault..we tried to find the worthy one. So, even with organ donation, we hope to reach and help out the one who really needs our help. There are people involved, doctors, organizations..we have to take a leap of faith and trust that when we are dead, these others would make the right choice and donate our organs to those who really need it. We have to take a leap of faith that our organs will not show up on a Organ Bazaar, where the highest bidder wins.

5) Rich and Famous get the Organs and the Poor Suffer - Its not true, the rich and famous don't jump the queue. Organs are donated to all donors irrespective of their financial status. Like I wrote before its about taking that leap of faith.

6) My family will be charged for the Donations - The donor family is not charged for the cost of organ transfers and transplants. The costs for those are borne by the receiver.

Please consider donating an organ today. We are the second most populated country in the world and we have the least number of organ donors. Let's strive to change that, this Organ Donation Day - 13th August 2014.