Since 1954 there has been huge success in the transplantation of organs to treat serious health conditions. As successful surgeries take place, the demand for organs continues to exceed the number of donors. Hence it is important that efforts to increase the number of organ donors are enhanced whilst ensuring that they are accompanied by high quality and safety standards.
A Eurobarometer study carried out in 2008 showed that 55% of Europeans are willing to donate one of their organs to an organ donation service upon their death. The strongest support for organ donation was in Sweden (83%), while high levels are recorded in Finland and Belgium (both 72%) and Denmark (70%). For Malta this survey showed that 77% of people were willing to donate their own organs. The following are some frequently asked questions regarding organ and tissue donation.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
From what age can I register as an organ donor?
To register as an organ donor, you need to be sixteen years or over.
Is there an age limit?
No, there is no age limit.
If I have a medical condition, can I donate my organs/tissues?
Yes, you can still be a donor if you have a medical condition. Healthcare professionals will decide whether your organs/tissues are suitable for transplant based on your past medical history when the situation of organs/tissues donation arises.
With the new legislation will my relatives be allowed to overturn my decision?
No, the relatives will not be able to overturn your wish; nonetheless it is extremely important to discuss your decision with your loved ones.
What is the National Human Organ and Tissues Donation Register?
The National Human Organ and Tissues Donation Register is a confidential national database that holds the details of people who want or who do not want to donate their organs after their death.
If I register does it mean that I will be asked to donate organs or tissues when I am still alive?
No not at all, however if you ever decide to become a living donor this is also possible.
After I register my wish to donate my organs and/or tissues, can I change my mind?
Yes you can change your wish to donate your organs and/or tissues by filling in another form
Will being a declared organ donor (to donate after my death) influence the care I receive in hospital?
Organ and tissues donation is not even considered until all possible efforts to save a person’s life have been exhausted and brain death is declared.
Can I choose which organs/tissues to donate?
Yes, if desired, a donor can specify which organs/tissues are to be donated. The registration form provides for this.
Who will process the personal information collected?
The information is only processed by healthcare professionals involved in the coordination of organ donation and transplantation. Personal data is not retained after death.
The Superintendence of Public Health encourages people to register. A person can save up to eight lives by organ donation and save or improve lives of up to 50 people by donating tissues. Online registration is available at www.organdonation.gov.mt. Application forms are also available. Contact helpline telephone number 2595 3324 or send an email on [email protected] for more details and a copy of the application form.
© 2017 – VIDA Magazine – Dr Charmaine Gauci