The Greatest of Gifts-Life - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/11/02

The Greatest of Gifts-Life

From one of our viewers cam a very interesting question. “I am 60 years old and very healthy. Can I donate organs?”

This person is anxious to help the nearly 5,000 persons in Texas and 84,000 nationally who are on waiting lists for transplants 16 to 17 people who die each day while on the waiting list.10% of these people are under 18 years of age.

When someone donates organs in west Texas, the organs go to Lifegift of West Texas. It is part of a national network that shares organs, trying to assure patients that the right organ will be available for them when they need it. Lifegift attempts to place kidneys donated in west Texas because we have two kidney transplant units, one at UMC and one at Covenant.

The organ that is genetically closest to the patient is the best one for transplantation. This is why it is so important that minorities sign up to be organ donors. There is a desperate need for minority donors. 

A donation of a body can help up to 20 patients with the various organs and tissues that can be transplanted. Organs include heart, kidneys, pancreas, heart valves, intestines, corneas, lungs, and liver. Bone, connective tissue, and skin are among the tissues that are used.

Back to our original question ‘Is there an age limit on organ donation.’ the answer is no for healthy individuals. With people over 80, they most often harvest tissue. The oldest individual in this area that has donated was 103. There is also no limit if you are donating your body to science and the Health Sciences Center.

If you want to donate organs, put a red sticker on your license and make very sure that your next of kin know your wishes. They will have to get their permission to take the organs. Despite stories to the contrary, organs cannot be sold. That is against the law.

Survival rates are so high now for transplantation, it really is a shame not to participate in this program. Remember that potentially 20 people could benefit from your gift.

For more information click on the following links (Lifegift) or (UNOS).

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