Organ Transplant And Donation Essay

1897 words - 8 pages

The human body; it starts off as a single cell, and grows into a complex machine made of seventy eight distinct organs, two hundred and six bones, and millions of nerves that all communicate with each other to regulate body processes and keep the machine alive and healthy. This seemingly perfect system undergoes countless attacks every day, and manages to recover from most, although occasionally, it can not. Diseases such as Cystic Fibrosis and Coronary Artery Disease, or abnormalities and defects such as biliary atresia, can all disrupt the function of human organs (“Transplant Australia”, n.d ). Thankfully, through radical advancements in modern medicine, organ transplants are a safe and highly viable option to restore the human body’s perfect harmony. No matter the reason for organ failure, once it occurs, the patient’s journey to receiving a new organ begins. Through the matching of organs, the process and the complications that come with it, the ethical issues, and trials of new advancements, the journey is a long one.
Organ donations can result from either living or deceased patients. Living transplants are often from one family member to another, and include kidney, parts of lungs and livers, small bowel and some tissue donations (“Organ Transplant-Overview”, n.d.). Donations from deceased patients occur after the donor has been classified as neurologically dead, and thus the organs are available for transplant to patients on the donor list. Neurological death is the accumulation of blood or fluid in the brain cavity, increasing inter cranial pressure and limiting the flow of oxygen to the brain (Olson, 2002). Once the brain has lost its supply of oxygen, it dies. Unlike other organs, such as the heart, the brain cannot be resuscitated (“Understanding Neurological Death”, 2010). Neurological death often occurs as a result of a trauma (open or closed), a brain tumour or hemorrhage, an aneurysm, stroke, drowning, poisoning, or an overdose. Neurological death is confirmed through many small physical tests such as a gag reflex test, a pupil dilation test and an apnea test (verifying that the patient cannot breathe on their own). It is also confirmed through an electroencephalogram (EEG), which measure brain voltage, and a cerebral blood flow (CBF) examination, which uses mildly radioactive isotopes in the blood stream to track the blood flow into the brain, or a computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan. Only one out of every 800 neurological deaths results in the donation of organs (Olson, 2002). Once the donation of organs has occurred, the process of matching the organ to a recipient begins.
The factors that determine a patients eligibility to receive an organ transplant include age, severity of their condition, how long they have been on the list, their body size, distance from the donor, and blood and tissue type (“Donation and Transplantation: How does it work?”,2013). In order for an organ to be compatible with the recipient, the...

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