Benefits and Risks of Becoming a Living Organ Donor

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Not many people think about the privileges they are given in daily life, while some unfortunate people are sitting on a hospital bed waiting for someone to save their life. There are currently about 100 thousand people waiting for a replacement organ. By giving an organ, you are allowing a person to receive a part of you. This may sound disturbing, but in the end you will feel very accomplished with life. Next time you are asked to be an organ donor, think about the life you will be giving a person. The process of receiving an organ may take a while, along with the expenses and risks being scary, but nothing compares to the chance of living happily again.

Doctors say there are 4 steps for a successful transplant. Patients will receive their own transplant team that consists of social workers, coordinator, psychiatrist, and so much more to evaluate the physical conditions along with important tests to determine if the transplant is necessary. Recipient will be given an action plan and, if accepted, be put on organ recipient waiting list. United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) manages organ transplants across the nation and were created to maximize the limited supply of organs and give all candidates a fair chance to receive the organ they need (Center for Advanced Lung Disease and Transplantation). Waiting for an organ can take up to ten to 14 months before a replacement organ is available. The patient should keep up with good nutrition and stay in rehab during the long wait. During the waiting time, the patients coordinator and social worker are there to support and answer any questions, and along with that, the coordinator will give the patient a transportation plan. Attending surgeons and full time cardiac anesthesiologist, followed by the rest of their team, will meet the patient in the operating room, preparing for the surgery. Patients will be watched over for any infections or organ rejections after operation, if no signs they can begin the process of returning to normal health. Weekly check-ups are mandatory the first few months. As the time goes on, the visits will decrease to monthly check-ups. Doctors will give medications to keep the new organ healthy, along with instructions and the purpose for the medicine.

The best way to receive information or concerns about complications of the surgery will come from the patients transplant team. The most common risks factors for recipients and donors are pain, infections, blood clots, and loss of blood, along with many other risks. The organ can take a while to function properly or may reject from the patient. Death is also a risk of an organ transplant or any surgeries. Negative psychological symptoms are also possible during the healing process and even years after the donation (Medical and Psychological Risks). The recipient will receive an anti rejection medication to prevent any rejections that may happen. The medications can have powerful side effects, such as nausea and vomiting, headaches, weight gain, trouble sleeping, weakened bones, etc. Not all side effects from the medicine can happen, all recipient respond differently to the medications.

Even though a person's health is much more important than the cost of the surgery, money still has a major factor in organ transplantation. The costs varies depending on location, hospital, organ type, insurance coverage, and other factors (Transplant costs). Patients medical costs will include insurance deductibles and copays, pre-transplant evaluation and testing, fees for medical team, fees for the recovery, the surgery, and many more (Transplant costs). There will also be non-medical costs included. Single organ transplants can range from 30 thousand to one million, depending on which organ. Multiple organ transplants is much more expensive due to the complexity of the surgery. Those can range from 600 thousand to two million. That may seem like a lot, but when given the chance to possibly extend one's life, it will come at any cost.

Waiting for an organ can seem like forever and leave you with a hole in your wallet, but in the end it is worth it to see your loved one happy again. Going through the four steps of a successful transplant can take some time, but the bond you receive with the transplant team will last a lifetime. With any surgeries, there can be multiple risks. Some risks to look out for after transplants are infections, rejections, or not functioning properly. If you had the chance to live a normal life again, cost would not be a decision making factor. About 20 people die from not receiving an organ, but if we all say yes to donating, that can change.


Center for Advanced Lung Disease and Transplantation. The Pancreas and Its Functions |

Columbia University Department of Surgery,

Medical and Psychological Risks. Living Donation California,

Transplant Costs. Transplant Living,

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Benefits and risks of becoming a living organ donor. (2019, Nov 26). Retrieved June 24, 2024 , from

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