Your Organ Donation Questions Answered – Giving the Gift of Life

Donate Life = Organ Donation

April serves as National Donate Life month – raising awareness around organ donation and celebrating those who have given the precious gift of life to another. Currently, more than 118,000 men, women, and children are awaiting a lifesaving transplant. They are in need of organs, tissue, and bone marrow which can all be transplanted if donors were available, giving recipients a second chance at life.

Understandably, potential donors may have reservations about organ donation. During our live chat on Tuesday, April 25th, Sharon Mathews, MS, RN, CPTC, Transplant Coordinator of the Emory Transplant Center, answered your questions about organ donation. The live chat had a great turnout, and now all questions and answers are available online for you to review.

Organ Donation Chat, 4/25/17

[Apr 25, 12:01 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Welcome everyone! Thanks for joining us today for our web chat about Giving the Gift of Life, Understanding Organ Donation

[Apr 25, 12:02 PM] EmoryHealthcare: We’ll get started in just a minute. Sharon B. Mathews MS, RN, CPTC, Lead Transplant Coordinator, Living Kidney Donor Program is here to answer all of your questions!

[Apr 25, 12:02 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Please note that all questions are moderated before appearing in the stream, so you may not see yours appear right away, but we will do our best to answer all of your questions today.

[Apr 25, 12:05 PM] EmoryHealthcare: We received some questions that were submitted in advance of the chat, so we’ll get started by answering a few of those first.

[Apr 25, 12:06 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Actually, let’s start off with a few facts first.

[Apr 25, 12:07 PM] EmoryHealthcare: As you may know, April is National Donate Life Month. Emory Transplant Center wants to take this opportunity to raise awareness about organ donation.

[Apr 25, 12:08 PM] EmoryHealthcare: As of today, there are more than 118,000 men, women, and children that are awaiting transplants.

[Apr 25, 12:09 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Every 10 minutes a patient is added to list.

[Apr 25, 12:10 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Sadly, 22 people die every day while waiting.

[Apr 25, 12:10 PM] EmoryHealthcare: If one person donates their organs, they can save up to 8 lives.

[Apr 25, 12:13 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Here’s a question that was submitted in advance: What organs can be donated after death?

[Apr 25, 12:14 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Answer: It’s age specific, but in general, it is heart, liver, lungs, pancreas, two kidneys, and intestine.

[Apr 25, 12:14 PM] Guest3828: Does it cost anything to donate organ and tissues?

[Apr 25, 12:15 PM] EmoryHealthcare: No. There is no cost to the patient or family to donate. It is free of charge.

[Apr 25, 12:15 PM] Guest7371: So many great things have been said about y’all’s program

[Apr 25, 12:16 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Thank you. We are proud of our heart, liver, and lung transplant programs.

[Apr 25, 12:18 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Next question we received. “Are there restrictions around becoming an organ donor?”

[Apr 25, 12:22 PM] EmoryHealthcare: There are certain conditions that may prohibit a person from becoming a donor. The transplant team will evaluate each potential donor and determine which organs and tissues can be donated.

[Apr 25, 12:22 PM] EmoryHealthcare: For example, you can’t be a pancreas donor if you have diabetes. We review every single donor thoroughly.

[Apr 25, 12:23 PM] Guest3828: Can I sell my organs?

[Apr 25, 12:25 PM] EmoryHealthcare: It is illegal in the United States to buy and sell organs per the NOTA (National Organ Transplant Act).

[Apr 25, 12:28 PM] Guest7371: My friend’s mom needs an organ but she’s been on the waiting list for a long time. How can we find someone to help her with liver?

[Apr 25, 12:29 PM] EmoryHealthcare: You may want to search www.unos.org and locate a transplant center that performs living liver transplants. Currently, we do not have an active living donor program here at Emory.

[Apr 25, 12:30 PM] Guest1452: What organs can someone donate while they’re alive?

[Apr 25, 12:31 PM] EmoryHealthcare: One kidney and part of your liver because it can regenerate.

[Apr 25, 12:33 PM] EmoryHealthcare: At Emory, we have a very robust living kidney donor program.

[Apr 25, 12:34 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Family members, friends, and coworkers step forward to become potential donors.

[Apr 25, 12:35 PM] EmoryHealthcare: If their blood type does not match the recipients, we offer the donor the opportunity to participate in a paired donor exchange program.

[Apr 25, 12:38 PM] Guest7371: Thank you. I thought EMORY had a living donor program, I thought EMORY had some kind of exchange donor program, too 🤔

[Apr 25, 12:41 PM] EmoryHealthcare: In a paired exchange situation, a donor donates their kidney to another recipient in exchange for their intended recipient to receive a kidney.

[Apr 25, 12:42 PM] EmoryHealthcare: While you may not receive your donor’s kidney, you receive a compatible kidney from another donor.

[Apr 25, 12:44 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Because these cases may involve a large number of patients and transplant centers, they are called “swaps” or “chains.”

[Apr 25, 12:46 PM] Guest3226: Who is responsible for the cost of the transplant surgery?

[Apr 25, 12:48 PM] EmoryHealthcare: At Emory, our largest chain to date affected 35 recipients who received a lifesaving kidney transplant.

[Apr 25, 12:49 PM] EmoryHealthcare: The recipient’s insurance is responsible for the cost of the donor surgery and donor hospitalization.

[Apr 25, 12:50 PM] EmoryHealthcare: These questions have been great! We have time for just a couple more.

[Apr 25, 12:55 PM] Guest3323: Will donation change the appearance of my body?

[Apr 25, 12:59 PM] EmoryHealthcare: The donor surgery is done laparoscopically, therefore, there would be a few small abdominal incisions. This is one of the things we discuss during the donor evaluation.

[Apr 25, 12:59 PM] EmoryHealthcare: That’s all the time we have for today. Thanks so much for joining us! As we mentioned, we’ll follow up with a blog post to answer any questions we didn’t get a chance to address today.

[Apr 25, 1:03 PM] EmoryHealthcare: As a final takeaway, to become an organ donor, please sign a donor card online at www.donatelife.net and let your family know your intentions.

[Apr 25, 1:05 PM] EmoryHealthcare: For more information about our Living Kidney Donor Program visit emoryhealthcare.org/kidneytransplant. If you’d like to donate go to emory.donorscreen.org. Thanks again!

Want to learn more about organ donation? Visit Donate Life Georgia to get the facts about organ donation, register to become a donor and update your donate profile. To learn more about Emory’s Transplant Center, offering Georgia’s most comprehensive organ transplant program, visit emoryhealthcare.org/transplant.

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    If you’re attending our live chat today at noon EST, feel free to post here. We are excited to answer your questions about organ donation!