Jessamine County Coroner

Organ Donation Can Save Lives

 

According to Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA), 18 people a day or approximately 6,000 a year will die while waiting for an organ transplant. Almost 110,000 people are registered on the United Network for Organ Sharing waiting list for donated organs, including more than 700 Kentuckians. It is estimated that a new name is added to the waiting list every 11 minutes. Many people are reluctant to consider organ or tissue donation because of misconceptions or a lack of understanding of the process. Understandably, most of us imagine ourselves and our loved ones being buried with all of our body parts intact; unable to visualize a funeral without the whole body being buried. While donation may not be for everyone, I along with the dedicated people at KODA, hope that you will take a few minutes to become educated about this wonderful opportunity to give a life-saving gift after death. Organ donation may occur in situations, where the donor has died in a hospital and has been declared to be brain dead after suffering a severe brain injury. Organs that can be used include the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small bowel. In addition to organs, there is a tremendous need for tissue donation as well. While all donated tissue may not actually save a life, it will greatly enhance someone’s ability to function more normally. Tissue donation, unlike organ donation, is not limited to head trauma situations where brain death occurs. In many instances, tissue can be donated even though the donor did not die in a hospital, and can be obtained up twenty four hours after the heart stops beating. Tissues which can be donated include the eye, cornea, heart valves, skin, bone and saphenous vein. It should be noted that with all donation, the individual can still have an open casket funeral, and will leave no changes in the decedent’s appearance. Almost everyone, regardless of age, can be a tissue donor. Even those with medical conditions may qualify. More than eight hundred thousand tissue grafts are annually distributed, and as researchers continue to discover new ways to treat patients using donated tissue, the need for tissue grows each year. You can register as a donor by visiting KODA at www.kyorgandonor.org and filling out the form, or just search on your browser for “KODA”. As a registered donor, your name will go into a data bank for organ/tissue donation. As a Kentucky resident, your organs or tissue will be matched to Kentuckians on the waiting list first, and if there is not a suitable match, they will be forwarded for a match nationally. As Kentucky has first person consent laws in place, an individual’s wishes to donate will be honored. By law, donation is the right of every American age 18 or older. Hospitals are obligated by law, to identify potential donors and to inform families of their right to donate; and coroners are required to notify KODA of all deaths as well, for establishing eligibility for donation.
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