Organ Donor Card
There are two ways to show you have decided to be an organ donor.
1. Download Our Organ Donor Ecard
2. Organ Donor Card
|An Organ Donor Card can to be sent to you by post if you prefer. Simply click on the image to the left and fill out the online form. An organ Donor card will be posted out to you within 3 working days.|
Currently there is no national register where you can record your decision on organ donation.
Organ donation has resulted in over 6000 transplant operations in Ireland alone
4450 Kidney Transplants
330 Heart Transplants
950 Liver Transplants
150 Pancreas Transplant
150 Lung Transplants
THE KIDNEY – the most common organ transplant performed worldwide. The renal patients, with failed kidneys, are the most fortunate group because there is an artificial way of keeping them alive which is known as ‘dialysis’. This is a tough regime of treatment. Since 1964, over 4,000 kidney transplants have been carried out in this country. Currently, there are over 2,000 people in Ireland on dialysis. Beaumont Hospital is the National Kidney Transplant Centre.
THE HEART – Transplantation commenced in the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in September 1985. The size, weight and condition of the heart are critical in this transplant operation.
THE LUNG – Lung transplantation is a lifesaving therapy for people with diseases such as cystic fibrosis, lung fibrosis and Alpha One. The programme in the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital has grown rapidly since 2005 and is now one of Europe’s leading lung transplant centres.
THE LIVER – the largest solid organ in the body is transplanted in St. Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin. The rapid development in this transplant operation is an indication of the success of modern Irish transplantation medicine.
THE PANCREAS – the gland which, amongst other things, regulates the level of glucose in the blood, and is transplanted together with the kidney for insulin dependent diabetic patients.
Unlike solid organs, tissue donors do not need to be maintained on life-support machines.
THE CORNEAS – Corneal tissue is the front part of the tough outer shell of the eyeball. This transplant operation can restore perfect sight to the recipient.
BONE & TENDONS – are used for reconstruction after an injury or during joint replacement surgery. A bone transplant can prevent limb amputation in patients suffering from bone cancer.
HEART VALVES – are transplanted into babies and children with heart defects and into adults with diseased valves.
SKIN GRAFTS – are used as protective dressings in patients with extensive skin loss. This may help to save the life of a person suffering from severe burns.
BONE MARROW – bone marrow transplantation (BMT) is a special therapy for patients with cancer or other diseases which affect the bone marrow. It involves taking cells that are normally found in the bone marrow (stem cells), filtering those cells, and giving them either back to the patient or to another person.
THE FACTS OF DONATING LIFE
You are three times more likely to need organ transplantation, in your lifetime, than the likelihood of dying in the precise circumstances to be considered a potential organ donor.
Signing the donor card signals your willingness to allow your organs and tissues to be transplanted. Your “next-of-kin” will have the final decision on donation. You should let them know your wishes now.
lA potential donor would have to be in hospital, maintained on a life-support machine, and declared dead before a family will be approached about organ donation.
Machines can keep the blood circulating after death and this allows organs to be used for transplantation. A patient who is brain stem dead cannot recover.
The permission, sought from your “next-of-kin”, is for organ and tissue transplantation only. No organs are removed unless a specific recipient is identified and ready to receive a transplant.
Nearly all organ donors are the sufferers of brain trauma through accident, brain haemorrhage or brain tumour and some donors are cardiac death donors.
THE FACTS OF TRANSPLANTING LIFE
The range of organs and tissue currently used for transplantation include the kidneys, heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, corneas, heart valves, bones and tendons, small bowel and skin.
As transplant surgery develops we are hopeful that many more organs and tissue will be suitable for transplantation.
Each recipient (receiver) of the organs and tissue is chosen by computer matching of the patients currently waiting on the various transplant lists.
The operation to remove organs for transplantation is not post-mortem surgery. The operation is performed in an operating theatre by a team of transplant surgeons.
The removal of all organs is carried out at the same hospital where the donor dies and does not interfere with funeral arrangements.
Anti-rejection drug developments and life support equipment, combined with modern medical and surgical techniques, has made transplantation of organs and tissue a reality. Please consider signing and carrying the Donor Card and discuss your wishes with your ‘next-of-kin’.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why are more donors needed?
Because transplantation is now so successful, more and more patients
have a chance of benefiting from transplantation. There are not enough donors to match the number of patients waiting for a transplant.
Is there a difference between an organ and tissue donor?
Yes. Organs are retrieved from a donor who has been declared dead. Tissue however, can be retrieved later and, in some cases, up to 24 hours following death.
What is a ventilator?
It is a machine also known as a respirator or life-support machine. It is used to take over the breathing of a person who has lost the ability to breathe naturally.
How do they know you are really dead?
Two different doctors have to carry out a series of tests independently in order to confirm that a patient is brain stem dead. The standards are very strict and are accepted medically, legally and ethically. Cardiac death donors or non-heart beating donors, as they are sometimes referred to, who do not fully fit the brain death donor criteria, but die following the removal of life-support are now considered for organ donation in some Irish hospitals.
Can older people be donors?
In the case of corneas and bone donations, age does not matter. For organs, it is the person’s physical condition, not age, which is the determining factor. Doctors decide in each case whether it is possible to use them.
How can I become a donor after my death?
Simply sign the donor card now and request your next-of-kin to sign it also indicating their willingness to honour your wishes. Carry your card with you at all times, so that in the event of sudden untimely death, your wishes become known immediately. Remind your family regularly that you are willing to be an organ donor.
How are the donor organs removed?
Organ donation is carried out in the hospital in which the patient dies. Following the death of the donor the organs are removed in an operating theatre, with precisely the same care as in any other type of surgical procedure. The donor’s external appearance is fully restored.
Can I be a donor if I have an existing medical condition?
Having a medical condition does not necessarily prevent a person from becoming an organ or tissue donor. When a person is identified as a potential donor, taking account of past medical history, the decision about whether organs or tissues are suitable for transplantation is made by a doctor.
Are donors screened to identify whether they have a transmittable disease?
Yes. Blood is taken from all potential donors and tested to rule out transmittable diseases and viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis. The family of the potential donor will be made aware that these tests are required.
What if I change my mind after filling in the card?
Inform your family and tear up the card.
Does organ donation leave the body disfigured?
No. The recovery of organs and tissue is carried out with great care and respect by surgeons and trained staff and does not disfigure the body or interfere with funeral plans.
Should I put my wishes in my will?
By the time your will is read it will be far too late for you to become a donor.
Would a transplant patient ever know who the donor was?
No. Confidentiality is always maintained, except in the case of living donations, which are usually within the same family.
Are there religious objections to organ and tissue transplantation?
Most major religious groups approve and support organ transplantation as it is consistent with caring traditions. However, if you have any doubts, you should discuss them with your own spiritual or religious leader.
Who would get my organs if I become a donor?
Many things need to match or be very close to ensure a successful transplant operation. Blood group, age and weight are all taken into account. For kidneys, another factor is tissue typing which is much more complex than blood grouping. The more accurate the match, the better the chance of success. There are national computerised lists of patients waiting for organ transplants. The computer will identify the best matched patient for an organ, or the transplant unit to whom the organ is to be offered.
“BLOOD DONATION” is the most important conscious donation you can make and allows so many life-saving surgical procedures to be carried out. There is a constant demand for fresh blood and the Irish Blood Transfusion Service, will inform you of the most convenient donation centre in your area.
Blood Donor Information Line: CallSave 1850-731137 (9am-5pm).
THE IRISH COMPETENT AUTHORITY ON THE VARIOUS ASPECTS OF
QUALITY AND SAFETY OF ORGAN DONATION AND TRANSPLANTATION IS:
HEALTH PRODUCTS REGULATORY AUTHORITY (HPRA)
KEVIN O’MALLEY HOUSE, EARLSFORT CENTRE,
EARLSFORT TERRACE, DUBLIN, D02 XP77