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Organ Donation: Facts, Influences, and Implications
Donating organs of the body is a controversial issue that has raised several debates. Advocates on each side of the debate have justifications for their opinions. Transfer of body organs is performed on both living and dead persons, depending on the situation and the nature of organs to be transferred. Advocates of organs’ transplant strive for changing people’s attitudes to convince and urge them for donating organs. Several news articles and stories highlight incidents involving the donation of body organs. The discouraging fact in this regard is only the failure of such organs' transplants, which happen due to lack of sufficient research done in the relevant field of science, or some sort of carelessness committed during the surgery. However, the success stories prove to be a true inspiration for others to follow the same path in such cases. The article chosen to discuss in this essay presents one such inspiring story that provides solid arguments in favor of organ donation. It establishes a strong view of helping the needy humanity with everything one has in one’s possession. It transcends the discussion of right and wrong, or success and failure. The brilliant output of the story compels every mind to endorse the need for willingly donating organs for the wellbeing of all humans.
“Donating a heart can be positive for the recipient and their family because it is giving them another chance at life, a chance to be healthy and the chance for their family to be together longer.”
Organ donation has been possible with the emergence of sufficient technology and comprehensive research and experimentation. Humans have been able thereby to become beneficial to one another on the cost of their most personal belongings, that is, their integral parts of the body. It may seem “weird” or “horrible” to some people, but the mediating thing to this end is that organ transfer is carried out usually when a person is left with no hope of life. The surgery is carried out mostly after the demise of the donor. To a reasonable person, this practice has no harm to the donor or society in any aspect. People help each other with emotional or financial support during their lifetime. Organ donation is a noble practice, hence, to help someone live long and healthy when the donor has no chance left to live more. The main reasons for people’s hesitation in donating organs include fear and distrust, which can be alleviated through counseling and targeted communication (Cherdymova Ei et al.).
The need to create awareness in the family of a potential donor is evident. In most cases, the consent of family members is necessary to perform organ transplants. It is, therefore, useful to figure out the characteristics of the families consenting for donation as well as the reasons behind their consent. A study was conducted by selecting a group of 6994 brain-dead patients. Among these, 3839 patients were found to be eligible for donating organs. The study revealed that only half of those eligible donors underwent organ donation surgeries and the reason was only the consent of their families. The families who gave consent did it only for the sake of humanity, out of sheer altruism. It was concluded that the nobility of donation should be conveyed to people and a campaign is needed to register the willing potential donors (Bok et al.).
It has been established that the mutual ratio of certain related factors influence the evaluation of a donor. For instance, the disadvantages of complications (legal, ethical, medical, etc.) confronted by the transplant teams and donors should be less and, otherwise, balanced against the perceived advantages received by the beneficiaries (Levvey and Snell).
Research reveals that students lack a positive attitude toward organ donation in the deceased that is different and favorable in the case of the family members for donating a living organ. This suggests that there exists a poor correlation between knowledge and attitude. Certain sociodemographic differences and cultural factors influence the living organ donation acceptance, more than knowledge alone. Women and clinical students show better attitudes toward organ donation. It seems that those who reject the idea of organ donation cannot trust the healthcare system, besides having concerns about the body. The students can be able to avoid this misconception if concepts of brain death are introduced in their curriculum (Elsafi et al.).
The consultants need to develop a better understanding of decision-making by the donor families about organ donation by potential providers. This could enable them to make better interventions to encourage donation. The data about donors suggest that pros of organ donation are more strongly connected to the donation intentions rather than cons of organ donation (Flemming et al.).
The news article selected for reviewing and comparing with the studies mentioned above inspires the noble cause of organ donation to save humanity. It presents two heart-wrenching and inspiring stories signifying the decision of organ donation by two families on behalf of the donors (Columnist). In the first incident, the writer narrates a tragedy of the death of her beloved daughter, Stacey. At her death, they were asked to make a decision regarding organs’ donation on behalf of their daughter. The time was very tragic and painful. The parents were in shock and remorse. They could not think in a better way due to the grief of their daughter's death. In spite of all pain and grief, they decided to donate the kidney of their daughter. The author of this article exclaims that he cannot express the feeling of contentment and gratification he felt when several years later the recipient wrote them a letter for being thankful to save their life. It is enough joy for the parents that a part of their daughter lives on in another person giving him or her hope of life.
The main story discussed in the article is about a mother who decided to donate the heart of her son, Jalen, who had been killed at the early age of three years. His heart was donated to Hannah, who was a five-year-old girl. The news of this successful heart transplant was published in a local newspaper, as referenced by the author. The surgery took place in 2007. The mother of Jalen met that girl after the surgery, and her satisfaction was out of the way. The idea of the fact that the heart of her son is beating alive inside an innocent girl was the source of extreme happiness for the mother. She was feeling the beating heart of her son inside the chest of that innocent girl and was getting immense contentment.
The article reveals that more than four thousand patients in the US are waiting on average for donor hearts to have a hope of starting a new life. Besides, on average, about nineteen patients die every day because they could not get a donor to replace some organ inside their body, which could give them a chance of living more. The reason behind this insufficiency of donor organs is the hesitation and misconception of people regarding this issue. It is the need of the hour that people should be communicated the benefits of organ donation such that they become familiar with the advantages the recipient and their families can get through this noble practice.
In both the stories narrated in the article, the families took the decision of donating an organ on behalf of their loved ones based on selflessness and altruism. No material benefit was received in donating the organs. It was a victory of humanity in the true sense. The noble acts of donating organs as depicted in these stories prove the dignity of good people. It can be concluded beyond any doubt that righteousness, care for others, and nobility are live facts in the world. The welfare organizations, government agencies, and healthcare professionals need to work for removing barriers of hesitation, distrust, and misconception from people's minds to make them clear about organ donation advantages.
The attitude and knowledge of donor families are two decisive factors influencing the decision-making process regarding organ donation. The news article referred to in this paper throws light on this fact as well. It can be noticed that Stacey’s parents were not prepared or well-informed of the possibility that they had that great chance of doing a noble thing. They instead regret later that they could have done more in this regard if they were better prepared mentally before that incident. Their situation indicates a lack of information on the issue. Their attitude was not against the idea of organ donation. It was only that they had not been well communicated by the promotion media and consultants in advance.
The organ donation is a noble act that has been misconceived by most of the potential donors to date. It confers on the recipients and their families the real joy of life. The two stories presented in the cited article prove evidence that people make organ donation decision to give happiness to other people. The barriers in the way of donor decisions include misconceptions, hesitations, ignorance, non-transparency, and lack of confidence in the healthcare systems. By removing these barriers with increased promotion, awareness, and interventions, many lives can be saved that are lost waiting for the respective donors.
Bok, Chunhee, et al. “Analysis of the Reasons Donor Families Donate Organs for Organ Transplantation.” Transplantation, vol. 102, 2018, p. S763.
Cherdymova Ei, et al. Survey on Speaking about Donation: Pros and Cons. eLibrary.ru, https://elibrary.ru/item.asp?id=37114783. Accessed 22 Jan. 2020.
Columnist, Sam Smith Religion. “Sam Smith: A Heart-Warming Story of a Life Saved through Organ Donation.” Marshall News Messenger, https://www.marshallnewsmessenger.com/opinion/sam-smith-a-heart-warming-story-of-a-life-saved/article_c4fd6b90-28ff-11ea-8729-2fe2af86f3a9.html. Accessed 22 Jan. 2020.
Elsafi, Salah H., et al. “Factors Influencing the Willingness of Allied Health Students to Donate Organs or Tissues.” Transplantation Proceedings, vol. 49, Elsevier, 2017, pp. 1215–20.
Flemming, Shauna St Clair, et al. “Understanding the Pros and Cons of Organ Donation Decision-Making: Decisional Balance and Expressing Donation Intentions among African Americans.” Journal of Health Psychology, 2018, p. 1359105318766212.
Levvey, Bronwyn J., and Gregory I. Snell. “The Pros and Cons of Proceeding with Extended Lung Transplant Donors.” Transplant Journal of Australasia, vol. 25, no. 2, 2016, p. 16.
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