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Modern medicine has made possible organ donation and transplantation. Depending on the age, medical condition and some other conditions in the time of death, family of a deceased or a deceased person him/herself (if he or she has a donor card), may donate the organs of the body to be transplanted to someone who needs them. So far, surgeons are able to transplant the eyes, lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, small intestine and pancreas.

Every year the number of deceased organ donors increase. Just in the USA, there are more than 8.000 organ donors (according to the statistics from 2006). Kidney and liver donations are on the top of the list, with more than 7.000 donations each, but there are also more than 2.000 heart and pancreas donations.

Who Can Donate Organs

Everyone can donate the organs, but they have to let their family know that fact and then sign the organ donor card. The law also requires them to sign New York State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry. After death, many organs from a donor are potentially useful, regardless the person's age at the time of death. Some of donors were very young and others elderly people. What matters for organ donation is medical condition of the deceased donor. If he or she was suffering from active infections or HIV donation is not possible. Donors who suffered from hepatitis B and C can donate their organs, but only to patients suffering from the same disease.

After brain death is confirmed, surgeons have to react very quickly and remove useful organs from the donor’s body. All information about the donor or donor's family is not to be revealed to anyone.

Alive person can also donate his or her organ(s), if it’s part of the liver, pancreas or the lungs. Such donation is possible if the donor is close relative to a recipient, if there is a need of the recipient and interest of the donor. Also, transplant center which is taking care of the recipient must be interested in the procedure.

Steps of Organ Donation

When a donor patient is about to die, hospital can request some confidential info about the patient to find out if he or she is a potential donor, which is followed by the medical evaluation of the organ suitability. After the declaration of death and consent for organ donation, there are confirmation of death under jurisdiction and allocation of organs and identification of recipient(s). Organ recovery and preservation are next steps in the organ donation. Family of the donor, doctors and nurses will receive letters about the outcome of the donation.

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