Have you ever saved someone’s life

Have you ever saved someone’s life? It gives a sense of satisfaction and gratitude knowing that you were able to help someone from danger or death. We are given the opportunity each day to make a world of difference in someone’s life and everyday is a beautiful day to save a life. Even after we pass away, we have the ability to live on in the lives of other hosts that needed a second chance in life.
Studies have shown that there are more than 115,000 men, women and children waiting for an organ transplant to save their lives. They are in need of a heart, kidney, liver, lungs, and other organs which can all be transplanted if there were readily available donors. Understandably, potential donors may have reservations about organ donation, but I have compiled some pros and cons to give you a more in-depth understanding of organ donation.
The demand for organ transplant has rapidly been increasing each year all over the world due to the increased incidence of vital organ failure, and the unavailability of adequate organs for transplantation to meet the demand has resulted in a major organ shortage crisis. The U.S. Government Information on Organ Donation and Transplantation gives us a statistics at a glance, that 20 people die each day waiting for a transplant, that is about 7,300 people that die each year. Every 10 minutes another person is added to the waiting list and only 3 in 1,000 people die in a way that allows for organ donation. This organ shortage crisis has deprived thousands of patients of a new and better quality of life and has caused a substantial increase in the cost of alternative medical care such as dialysis.
Many studies have emphasized alternatives to help reduce the organ shortage crisis. For example, Organ Shortage Crisis: Problems and Possible Solutions by Drexel University, College of Medicine outlines a strong presentation that by implementing certain pathways for obtaining organs from the living and the dead donors, with appropriate consideration of the ethical, religious and social criteria of the society, the organ shortage crisis will be eliminated and many lives will be saved through the process of organ donation and transplantation. With the implementation of the suggested points given by some of these studies, it is important to inform and educate ourselves in how we, alive or dead, can help benefit the lives of others.
For those of us living, we have the ability to possibly save 2 lives. Most organs and tissue donations occur after the donor has died. But some organs and tissues can be donated while the donor is still alive, for instance, one healthy kidney or a segment of a healthy liver. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, it is said that nearly 6,000 living donations take place each year. That’s about 4 out of every 10 donations. As of July 2017, statistics have shown that 82.9% of people are on the waiting list for a Kidney transplant and 12.3% of people are on the waiting list for a liver transplant. These are the two most common organs that are high in demand and could be solved if more willingly living organ donors took place.
Statistics also show that in 2016, 35,360 deceased organ donors were donated. That is more than 4 out of 5 donations came from deceased donors. At a time that can be very difficult to get through, many families take consolation in knowing their loved one, as an organ donor, helped save eight lives and helped improve fifty lives, if the individual also donates tissue and eyes. Taking this in consideration an organ transplant means that they no longer have to be dependant on costly routine treatments to survive. For others, and eye transplant will give them the ability to see or a tissue transplant the ability to be freed from pain. The giving of yourself through organ donation means that you can help a host of people who may now be able to live a fuller life because of your generosity.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the coin there is also a debate, a counter argument of why you should not become an organ donor. Although you may wish to help others out of the goodness of your heart, the sinister truth is that doctors routinely harvest organs from living patients.
The Syracuse Post-Standard uncovered a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that documented a series of errors that led to the near-organ removal on a living patient at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, N.Y., in 2009. This was the story of Colleen Burns, an organ donor recipient, whom opened her eyes to find herself in an operating room surrounded by doctors who believed she was dead and where about to remove her organs and donate them to patients on the transplant waiting list. According to the report, doctors had inaccurately diagnosed Burns with irreversible brain damage and ignored nurses who’d noticed signs that Burns was improving. She was hypothermic and had a weak pulse, but she was alive.
It is unfortunate that because of the huge profits that Hospitals generate in the trade of transplant organs and the strong financial incentive they have, they have the ability to easily declare you “medically dead” even when your heart is still beating and have brain activity. This is how a lot of the organ harvesting in America actually gets done. Patients that are on the verge of death are simply “declared” dead, then their organs are quickly removed, killing them for good.
It’s an unethical and greedy crime that takes place every day in America. U.S. hospitals have been caught over and over again engaging in black market organ trafficking. Organ trafficking is in fact a multi-billion-dollar industry and those who profit from organ transplant are doctors and hospitals, largely because they get the organs for free. These organs are immensely valuable and go to a for-profit system that is going to earn, potentially, millions of dollars off the organs of a single donor. It is sad to say that the medical industry has no remorse in killing patients who might otherwise survive in order to take their organs and make their profits transplanting them into other patients, patients who typically only have a few months to live even after the transplant.
Also, transplanted organs are often damaged or infested with disease. In the case of Colleen Burns, if you further read the story, you come to find out that she tried to commit suicide by taking a toxic combination of prescription medications. According to the doctors, this toxic cocktail of chemicals was fatal, and it killed her. Yet, they still insisted her organs were healthy enough to transplant them into another patient. In other words, even organs that doctors know are heavily damaged with toxic chemical cocktails will still be transplanted into other patients.
Last but not least, According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, transplant organs are often infected with several pathogens. These included infection transmitted to recipients of vascularized organs or tissues such as bone, tendon, skin, or corneas. One of the reasons organ transplant patients often die so quickly after receiving transplants is because the organs infected with diseases can infest that person with hundred or even thousands of viruses and blood-borne illnesses that quickly overcome their weakened immune system.
For Example, Matthew Millington, a 31 year old, Iraq war veteran, who struggled with his breathing while in Iraq in 2005. In 2006 he was found to have a serious condition and was told he would die in two years unless he had a transplant. In 2007, the soldier was relieved when a donation became available. Unfortunately, in the case of Millington the lungs given to him were lungs from someone who smoked 30 to 50 roll-up cigarettes. Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, which carried out the transplant, said early X-rays on the organs did not find any sign of cancer. But this was in fact missed. The tumor was discovered six months after the transplant and was given radiotherapy but this all turned out to be a further death sentence because in 2008 he then died. Papworth Hospital defended its use of smokers’ lungs in transplants and said all organs were screened rigorously.
You will find many similar cases like the ones just mentioned, and such cases are examples of a small but growing number of disease passed on through donor organs. No one knows how many diseases are transmitted through infected organs, said Dr. Matthew Kuehnert, director of the Office of Blood, Organ and Other Tissue Safety at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The U.S. does not have a national surveillance system in place to monitor disease transmission after donation.
There is no doubt that saving lives is great. Even though there are many risks, many of these transplants have saved more lives than that of death occurrences. But as the rise of organ transplant increases, we should also be more informed about the risks and actively participate in campaigns that help raise awareness among clinicians. Complete transparency is a must for more healthy organs and the need of more ethical and moral practices in the medical industry is very much needed to decrease the black market on organ trafficking. There’s always a risk in life, but certain things can be avoided, sadly money is the root of all evil and hospitals have become careless and greedy, but as an organ donor myself, If I am able to save a life and I know that I am healthy, the risk is worth it. As for the receiver, we are going to have to ask as much question as we can about the organ we will receive, it is our right to know and our decision to make. As Helen Boucher, the wife of a recipient that received an infected Kidney once said, “If the situation were to happen today, I would want to know. Then let me make the decision and then let me take the chance.”