What is Organ Donation?

With the current developments in medicine, many organs of the human body can be transplanted. Here, it is necessary to make a distinction between organs that can only be donated after death and organs that can be donated while alive.

In organs that can be donated while alive, a living person donates an organ or cell that is needed to another person. One of the two kidneys in our body and the liver, which can be surgically divided into two without damaging its anatomically functional structure, are organs that a person can donate while alive.

The donor must be over 18 years of age and in a position to make a decision. It must be ensured that this decision is not made under any influence, pressure or interest. The donor must be informed in great detail, verbally and in writing, about the type of intervention to be performed, its magnitude, possible dangers and the damage that may occur to their health now and in the future. Here, the health status of the person and the organ they want to donate is very important, rather than the age of the donor; however, organs of people over the age of 70 are usually taken in very rare cases.


Organ Donation After Death

Organ removal for transplantation after death is only possible after brain death has been definitively determined and permission has been obtained. The expanded volunteering method is in effect in Turkey. Accordingly, if there is a Tissue and Organ Donation Document, the organs required for transplantation can be taken; if not, they can only be taken with the consent of the deceased's relatives. Despite the wording of the law, in general practice in our country, organs are not taken without permission from the family, even if there is a donation document. First, a blood sample is taken from the deceased. Blood type and tissue characteristics are determined. This data is very important for determining to whom the organ can be transplanted. In addition, it is determined here whether there is any infectious disease or tumor in the organ that could endanger the patient to whom the organ will be transplanted.


Determination of Brain Death

Brain death should never be confused with other coma states and especially vegetative state. Apart from brain death, there is no death even if consciousness is closed. When brain death occurs, breathing has stopped and death has occurred. In other words, the patient has taken his last breath. In this case, there is not even the slightest doubt about death. Some people are skeptical about the determination of brain death and are concerned that brain death may have been detected early for the sake of organ removal. The diagnosis of brain death is made by the brain death determination board, which consists of mainly 4 branches in our country. The board consists of neurology, neurosurgery, anesthesia and cardiology specialists. Making this diagnosis indicates irreversible death. The functioning or stopping of the heart has no exact relation with death, because death does not occur immediately when the heart stops. Life continues during the period until the circulation stops and the brain dies, the real death is brain death. In most heart surgeries, although the heart is stopped for hours, circulation is provided in the body and the brain is kept alive, thus preventing the person from dying. Conversely, when the brain dies, even if the heart is working, death has occurred and there is little time left for all organs. Physicians who make the decision to die cannot work in organ transplantation in our country, as in all countries in the world, and they are outside of organ transplantation. If the deceased person has impaired organ functions, has a disease that can be transmitted through transplantation, or has cancer (skin cancers and some brain tumors can be excluded because they do not metastasize), these organs cannot be used even if the person donates their organs.


Organ Donation and Transplantation

Since the subject of organ donation and transplantation is extremely suitable for using imagination and making up stories, unfortunately, movies, series and news about this subject are frequently presented to the service of people. 3 children who disappeared in a corner of our country were immediately covered in all visual and written press, and news that the children were kidnapped by the organ mafia, their bodies were dismembered and their organs were taken and marketed by the organ mafia became a hot topic. The bodies of the children were found about two or three months later, it was determined that there were no wounds on their bodies, it was understood that this act was nothing but child abuse by a pervert and the person who did it was caught. However, it has not been possible to completely remove the false news about the organ mafia, the kidnapped and dismembered children from people's minds. When the Security Forces and Forensic Medicine were asked for their opinions on this subject, they were informed that there has not been a single corpse in Turkey that has had its organs removed so far. Unfortunately, every day in our country, patients who have the chance to be treated with an organ transplant lose their lives due to the lack of sufficient organ donations. Dead people are buried underground with healthy organs that could save the lives of others. It is absolutely necessary to increase awareness in society on this issue; we should never forget that there is a possibility that we or a loved one may contract a disease that requires an organ transplant at any time.




Address: Acıbadem Atakent University Hospital, Halkalı Merkez Mahallesi Turgut Özal Bulvarı No:16 Küçükçekmece / İstanbul / Turkey

Phone: +90 212 404 44 44

E-Mail: hamdi.karakayali@acibadem.com


The information contained within the site is for support purposes only. It does not replace a physician's examination, diagnosis, and prognosis of a patient for medical purposes.

Copyright © 2023 Prof. Hamdi Karakayalı, M.D. All rights reserved. | Powered by Mad Men Agency, MMA