The Facts

The Facts of Donating Life

You are three times more likely to need organ transplantation than ever to be in the unfortunate circumstance of being a donor.

We are not asking you to commit your body to science or research, purely transplantation after your death, to someone needing organs or tissue transplantation.

Signing the donor card signals your willingness to allow your organs and tissue to be transplantd. Your "Next of Kin" will have the final decision on donation. You should let them know your wishes now.

A potential donor would have to be in hospital, maintained on a life support machine and brain stem dead.

Machines can keep the blood circulating after death and this allows the organs to be used for transplant. However a patient who is brain stem dead cannot recover.

The permission sought from your next of kin is for organs and tissue for transplantation only. No organs are removed unless a specific recipient is identified and ready to receive a transplant.

Nearly all organ donors are the sufferers of brain trauma through accident, brain haemorrage and brain tumour.

The Facts of Transplanting Life:

The range of organs and tissue currently used for transplantation include the kidneys, heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, corneas, heart valves, bones and tendons small bowel and skin.

As transplant surgery develops we are hopeful that many more organs and tissue will be suitable for transplantation.

Each recipient (receiver) of the organs and tissue would be chosen by computer matching of the patients waiting on the various transplant lists.

The operation to remove organs for transplantation is not post mortem surgery. The operation is performed in an operation theatre by a team of transplant surgeons.

The removal of all organs is carried out at the same hospital where the donor died and does not interfere with funeral arrangements.

Anti rejection drug developments and life support equipment combined with modern medical and surgical techniques, has made transplantation of organs and tissue a reality. Please consider signing and carrying the Donor Card and discuss your wishes with your "next of kin".

The Organs Used in Transplantation:

The Kidney:
This is the most common organ transplant performed worldwide. The renal patients with failed kidneys are the most fortunate because tere is an artificial way of keeping them alive, this is known as Dialysis. Since 1964 there has been over 2,500 kidney transplants done in Ireland, there are currently over 800 people on dialysis. Beaumont Hospital in Dublin is the National Kidney Transplant Centre.

The Heart:
This is the second most common transplant. The first Heart Transplant was performed in 1967. The size, weight, and condition of the heart are critical in this transplant operation. The Mater Hospital's (Dublin) Heart Transplant team perform this operation.

The Lungs:
Lung transplants are performed in both Ireland and the United Kingdom. People with CF who require this transplant now have the option to be put on either the Newcastle Hospital (UK) or the Mater Hospital (Irl) transplant list.

The Liver :
This is the largest internal organ in the body. The rapid growth of this transplant operation is an indication of the success of modern Irish Transplant Medicine. Over 160 liver transplant operations have been carried out since 1993, forty alone in the year 2000. The main hospital performing this operation is St Vincents University Hospital Dublin.

The Pancreas:
This gland which amongst other things regulates the level of glucose in the blood, is transplanted alone and more often, with the kidney for insulin dependent diabetic patients.