Deceased organ donation means acquiring organs from a person after death to be transplanted into other persons who are dying from organ failure, in order to save their lives.
It is an established medical procedure and is considered as an act of profound generosity. It is a donation of life to those for whom the only alternative is dying from organ failure.
All over the world thousands of people suffering from organ failure die each year waiting for a donated organ. The living organ donation program, despite advancements, has failed to cope with this enormous burden. Globally the increase in transplant activity has only been possible due to increasing numbers of deceased organ donations.
The exact figure for Pakistan is not available but according to a conservative estimate more than 50,000 people die each year due to end stage organ failure. This figure includes 15,000 people with kidney failure, 10,000 with liver failure and 6500 with heart failure. Majority of these patients can be saved if organs are available for transplantation.
When part of the brain responsible for control of breathing stops functioning, heart beat stops permanently, that person dies. This is called brain death. If at the time of brain death the patient is on a ventilator, their heart beat and breathing may be maintained artificially for some time—this person may become an organ donor.
Organs that can be donated include kidneys, heart, liver, lungs, pancreas and intestine. Some tissues that may also be donated include corneas, skin, bone, bone marrow among others.