NATIONAL NEWS - You save seven lives if you are an organ donor.
One healthy person can donate up to seven organs - one heart, two lungs, two kidneys, one liver and one pancreas - to help seven people get a new lease on life.
August is Organ Donor Awareness Month, which means it's time to learn some facts about organ donation so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not to become a life-saving donor.
Less than 600 transplants are performed in South Africa each year and there is a waiting list of over 4 300 adults and children awaiting either tissue or organ transplants at any given time. In the US, 40% of the population are registered as organ donors. In South Africa, that number is below 0,2% of the population which means that the demand is never met by the supply.
Did you know: You can also donate tissue such as skin, bone, corneas and heart valves and help improve the quality of life of up to 50 people?
Who is eligible to become a donor?
Anyone younger than 70 years, who is in relatively good health, can become an organ donor. You don't have to be an athlete or in tiptop shape, but you must be free of certain diseases like cancer, diabetes, hepatitis, or HIV/Aids. All donors will be assessed at the time of death.
There is no cost or payment involved in organ donation
Your family will not incur any costs. The state or hospital will cover all medical expenses from the moment brain death is diagnosed, which must be confirmed by two doctors not involved in the transplant operation. Likewise, no one can profit from your organs. They need to be donated and cannot be legally sold. Trafficking in organs and tissue is an offence that is protected by law.
The same Act also states how donated organs must be removed, as well as the procedures and timing of this removal to ensure that this is both ethical and respectful of the deceased donor.
Contact the Organ Donor Foundation on their toll-free line: 0800 22 66 11 or visit them at www.odf.org.za.
They will assist you to register as a donor and will send you an organ donor card to carry in your wallet as well as stickers to stick on your ID book and driver's licence to make your intentions known in case of an emergency.
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