IT IS NOT ONLY AN ORGAN THAT IS DONATED, BUT ALSO A BRAND NEW LIFE
The most needed organ : KIDNEY
November 3-9 is the Organ Donation Week. Tens of thousands of patients in Turkey are waiting in line with great hopes to be able to undergo an organ transplant. Unfortunately some cannot live that long; to be enlightened under the light of hope that will connect them up to life. Therefore more efforts are necessary to increase the awareness on organ donation that will attach thousands of people to life. Specialists from Acibadem Organ Transplantation Center gave us information on organ transplantation and donation.
A mother waiting for a heart transplant closes her eyes longing to take her child to the amusement park… Or, thousands of patients with kidney disease have to pursue a life connected to a machine for many hours 3 times a week…In their dark world, they are waiting with great hope, the “light that you will turn on”.
Specialists from Acibadem Organ Transplantation Center call attention to the conflict in Turkey regarding organ donation… Professor Alihan Gürkan, chief of the Organ Transplantation Center in Acibadem Health Group International Hospital, states that “When alive, people do not feel any hesitancy in donating their organs to their relatives. We are even the world leader in that field. However when it comes to donating the organs of their deceased relative, we are among the last.”
Turkey has become famous in the world due to the significant number of successful organ transplantations in the recent years. Owing to organ transplantation centers at world standarts and the experience of the Turkish physicians, the period when people travelled abroad for a transplant has ended. The condition is now the opposite, foreign patients come to Turkey and receive a transplant. Successful organ transplantations make everyone happy. The number of transplantations performed are also increasing rapidly. The number of tissue and organ transplantations have increased fivefold in the last decade. However, the rate of donations from cadavers remain very low. Therefore, the success of the physicians by itself remains insufficient to save lives! Thousands of patients lose their lives while waiting for an organ.
THE GREATEST DEMAND IS FOR THE KIDNEY
In Turkey, the greatest demand in organ transplantation is for the kidney. The numbers are much above the estimates. As of today, approximately 60,000 people are receving renal dialysis, which is estimated to rise to 100,000 by the year 2016. Besides only 20,000 of people waiting for a kidney are on the “waiting” list; the rest do not even sign up to the waiting list due to the lack of knowledge and hope.
Professor Gürkan states that “Last year close to 3000 transplantations were made. This figure is very low to melt the iceberg. Most of these are from live donors. In other words the donors constitute from relatives who do not wish their child, brother, or relative to undergo a difficult treatment process. When it comes to transplantation from a cadaver, in other words a person who has developed brain death, people still do not favor donation due to various prejiduces.”
“THE LEVEL OF CONSCIOUSNESS SHOULD BE INCREASED”
Professor Bülent Oktay from Acibadem Bursa Hospital Organ Donation Center, also the Chief of the Department of Kidney Transplantation and Specialist in Urology, calls attention to the sad truth on organ donation and transplantation figures: ”The level of awareness and hesitancies of the Turkish people are the factors that determine the rate of organ donation”, and then adds: ”First of all, people are not very interested in problems that do not belong to them. However, an awareness arises when the same happens to themselves. There is a fear that tissue integrity will be lost. Of course, there is also a religion factor. There are still people who ask if it is permitted by religion. This view should be explained to the public in a better way.” According to the specialists the way to increase consciousness on organ donation is to educate people beginning from childhood.”
THEY ARE COMING FROM ABROAD TO RECEIVE ORGAN TRANSPLANTATION
Exchange of an organ which fails to fulfill its functions or even become harmful for the body, with another healthy organ is named “organ transplantation”. Organs and tissues transplanted most commonly today include kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas, cornea, and small intestine. As of today, 28363 people are on the organ waiting list. Professor Dr. Remzi Emiroğlu, chief of the Liver Transplantation Department in Acibadem Bursa Hospital states that “It is not only the adults who are waiting for an organ transplantation. There are children, 6 months or even 2 months old, who are waiting for a transplantation.” Emiroğlu also calls attention to the fact that Turkey has accomplished significant success in organ transplantation operations: ”In the past we used to send our patients abroad. Today, on the other hand, a lot of patients come to receive an organ transplantation. This shift is a sign of successful transplantation procedures in Turkey.
WITH ORGAN TRANSPLANTATION, LIFE IS GIVEN AS A GIFT
Referrals for organ donation can be made to all hospitals of the Ministry of Health, organ transplantation centers, local health directorates. The patients can also enlist on the organ waiting list of an organ transplantation center located outside their city of inhabitance. In Turkey, inadequate information, prejudices, and wrong beliefs play significant roles in the failure of organ donation to reach the desired levels. In the recent years, public awareness is on the rise owing to informative activities. The Ministry of Health organizes the “Organ Donation Week” every year between November 3-9. Public awareness and consciousness is increased with various activities. Thanks to the explanations of The Department of Religious Affairs which “emphasizes the significance of saving a life”, the question “is organ transplantation permitted in religion?” is not asked as frequently as before. The Supreme Council for Religious Affairs in The Department of Religous Affairs defines organ donation as “the greatest aid that one human can do to another human”.
TURKEY’S REPORT CARD ON ORGAN TRANSPLANTATION
More than 5000 transplantations were carried out in the first 10 months of 2013. Kidney was the most commonly transplanted organ with 2407 transplantations. One thousand thirty seven liver, 49 heart, 27 lung, 3 pancreas, 2185 corneal and 1 heart valve transplantations were carried out. However, hundreds among people waiting in line for a transplant lost the struggle for life. Only 23% of the families of people who developed brain deaths allowed donation of organs. As of today, 28363 people recorded in the Ministry of Health system are hoping to receive a transplantation.
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