FAQ Related to ZCCK

Who can be a donor?

Anyone from a child to an old person. Even if you have had a serious illness in the past, you can still become a donor under the right circumstances.


Can people buy or sell organs?

No. The “Transplantation of Human Organs Act” prohibits any commercial dealings in organs and makes this a punishable offence.


Who will receive the organs?

Recipients are chosen on the grounds of need, longest waiting time and by blood group and if necessary, by tissue characteristics. There is a waiting list for organ transplants because demand exceeds supply.


After the brain death has been declared and the family decides to donate the organs, who bears the subsequent cost of maintaining the donor until organ removal?

Certain hospitals would bear the cost. Apparently some of the hospital pass the charges on to the recipients.


Are there any religious objections to organ donations?

Most of the religious groups support the concept of organ donation. However if you have any doubt you can discuss it with your spiritual or religious leader.


How does the brain death occur?

Brain death usually results from a severe brain injury or brain haemorrhage which causes all the brain activity to stop. This can happen after a major road accident or a bleeding in the brain due to stroke.


What are the options facing the family of a brain dead person?

A series of tests have to be completed before brain death is declared by a panel of medical experts. During this period the patient’s vital organs are kept functioning using support systems. The decision to disconnect them lies with the family. However, opting to donate eyes, kidneys, liver, pancreas, heart and heart valves to those in dire need of them can turn tragedy into triumph. By giving another life a second chance.


How quickly should organ transplant take place?

Time is of critical Importance because the vital organs start collapsing within hours of brain death. Hence it is very important that organs be transplanted from the donor to the recipient as quickly as possible. Once the donor family gives their consent, the cost of keeping the organs working, removing them and transplanting will be borne by the recipient.


Can organs also be donated by healthy living people?

Anybody who meets the medical criteria can donate their organs by signing a donor card that states their wish. This signed donor card is a legal document and doctors can retrieve organs and tissues after death provided there is no objection on the part of close relatives. Which is why it is so important to let your family know your feelings regarding this.


Which are the organs and tissues can be used?

It is possible to transplant twenty-five different organs and tissues including cornea, heart valves, liver, kidneys, bone and cartilage, bone marrow, skin, pancreas, lung intestine and more.


Who requires these organs and tissues?

Each of us has a number of vital organs like brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, liver etc. Failure of any organ means certain death. Except for the brain all other organs can be replaced – which might be life saving. Besides organs – many tissues like cornea, heart valve, skin and bone may be used for repair and reconstruction


What is brain death?

Normally the death is said to occur when heart stops. But with modern technology the heart and lungs canbe made to function through mechanical support even when brain function has completely and permanently ceased. Thus once brain death occurs; the person becomes a cadaver with a beating heart.


How do doctors know a ‘brain dead’ patient is really dead?

Four doctors from a panel recommended by government, carry out a series of tests to confirm that a patient is “brain stem dead”. The standards are very strict and are accepted medically and ethically all over the world. The four doctors are of following category:
1. Neuro Surgeon / Neuro Physician
2. Treating doctor
3. An other specialist as approved by State Appropriate Authority
4. Medical Superintendent of the hospital.


Will donation cause pain and inconvenience to one’s family?

Organ donation is often an immediate and lasting consolation. It is often comforting to the family that even though their loved one has died, one or more persons can live on through their gift of life


Is there an age to donate organs?

Anyone is eligible to be an organ donor depending on doctor’s decision. Tissues and organs transplanted after death include corneas, heart, liver, kidneys, bone and cartilage, bone marrow, skin, pancreas, lungs and others. One can only donate kidneys and bone marrow as a live donor. As per the norms and guidelines of Government of Maharashtra organ donation can be done between 2 yrs to 65 yrs.


Can anyone become a donor? What is the minimum requirement to become a donor?

The blood group should be non-interfering. If the recipient is blood group ‘O’ – only ‘O’ can be a donor; if the blood group is AB – any blood group O, A, B & AB can be a donor. This is for live kidney donation. Rh group (positive or negative is not considered at all).

In cadaver organ donation the blood group match is strictly adhered. This is an ethical issue and ‘O’ group being an universal donor will always donate to all the recipients of any blood group and the ‘O’ group recipient will waiting for ever.


What are the steps of donation after death?

Once patient is admitted; all efforts are made to stabilize the patients. If all efforts fail, patient is pronounced brain-dead after evaluation, testing and documentation. Consent from the family is obtained to proceed with donation and organ procurement organization (OPO) is informed. Consent from coroner/legal authorities is obtained. In the mean time the organ donor is maintained on ventilator, stabilized with fluids, medications and undergoes numerous laboratory tests. Recipients are also identified for placement of organs.

Surgical team are mobilized and coordinated to arrive at hospital removal of organs and tissues. Donor is brought to the operating room. Multiple organ recovery is performed with organs being preserved through special solutions and cold packing. Ventilator support is discontinued. Donor’s body is surgically closed and released.


Why do we keep hearing about ‘kidney trade every few months? Is it because the doctors are greedy?

In India most of the transplants are from live donors since cadaver donation is still in infancy due to lack of public awareness. Hence there are a large number of patients who have no suitable donor and hence look for commercial donors.

All of such transplants are discouraged. But patients in a situation of life and death do manage to convince the doctors and the authorization committee. Occasionally doctors do turn a blind eye in order to save life.

Thus only long term solution to this problem of ‘kidney racket’ is to have a viable cadaver transplant program in the while country.


How to prevent kidney failure?

Prevention is better than cure lost of cost is involved in the treatment of ESRD.

General Measures

Following are the tips to improve the health status no matter what is your state.

  • Eat healthy diet.
  • Eat food that is fresh and low salt avoid fatty, refined food.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Check blood pressure regularly.
  • Avoid stress, strain

Whom can you contact for organ donation?

The only organisation in Karnataka through whom organ donations and transplants are co-ordinated is ZCCK (Zonal Coordination Committee of Karnataka For Organ Transplantation). ZCCK is a non-profit medical service working with centres recognised by the government for cadaveric transplantation and co-ordination for the same. A list of patients awaiting transplant is maintained. On receiving information about potential donors, ZCCK will assess suitability for organ donation. Based on the blood group and other criteria for the organ matching, the recipients will be selected, brought into hospital and prepared for the operation. A team of surgeons will perform the organ retrieval from the donor. In medico-legal cases, ZCCK will help the family with the formalities involved.

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