‘Tissue’ is described as Cornea, Skin, Bone and Tendons, and Heart Valves, and tissue donation is facilitated by a Tissue Bank. Retrieval of tissue can take place any time between 12 hours and 5 days after death.
Tissue donation makes skin grafts possible for hundreds of critically burned patients every year.
Donated corneas avert or correct blindness.
Donor heart valves help repair cardiac defects or damage.
Bone, cartilage and tendon grafts help restore function and mobility in people who would otherwise be incapacitated or disabled, and are used to treat a wide range of medical conditions.
Everyone is a potential donor, and tissue is generally retrieved from people between 15 and 80 years, but cornea and heart valves can also be retrieved from small children.
At the Time of loss
Whether sudden or expected, facing the death of a loved one is overwhelming. You are probably experiencing a variety of emotions, ranging from anger and despair to disbelief, shock and numbness. Along with these emotions, you have many decisions that must be made at a time when you feel you are least prepared to make them.
Although sometimes the decisions that must be made are trivial in comparison to what you are feeling, they are, nevertheless, important.
One such decision is the freedom to decide in favour of organ and tissue donation. In this way, you can ensure that you or your loved one leave a wonderful final legacy of love and hope in helping another.
Donations are allocated based on the severity of the recipient’s illness, time spent on official waiting lists, and the availability of suitable organ and tissue matches.
The need for organ and tissue transplantation is great yet impossible to overcome without people who, despite the pain and absolute finality of death, still find it within themselves to make the decision to help others in need.
The majority of religions support donation as a final act of compassion and generosity, and a means of showing love for another individual.
Please visit the Centre for Tissue Engineering’s website www.tissuedonation.org.za to read their FAQ’s.
Who can I contact for urgent assistance?
Call 0823184376 Organ Donor Foundation (All hours’ number).