Monday, June 11, 2007

Pledge organs to change lives

Star: PETALING JAYA: The 103 Malaysians who had donated their corneas since 2001 have offered many blind people the chance to see the world again.
Just three cornea donors so far this year have given the gift of sight to six blind people.
National Transplant Resource Centre senior coordinator Jamaliah Kario said that in the operations carried out in the first four months of this year the recipients were given one cornea each.
“So many blind people are waiting for a cornea transplant. We could only give one cornea to each person so that they could at least see with one eye,” she told The Star.
“I hope more people would come forward to pledge their organs and give a better quality of life to others when they die,” she said, adding that six people had donated their organs and tissues between January and March this year.
Jamaliah said 72,691 Malaysians had pledged to donate organs and tissues. Of them, 5,969 have pledged to donate their corneas since 1997.
However, she said many pledges made by donors when they were alive could not be honoured when they died because of objections from family members.
“We hope prospective donors will tell their families about their intention to donate and get their approval so that this does not happen.
“Otherwise, it is such a waste. A donor who donates all his organs and tissues can make a difference to 10 to 15 people’s lives,” she said.
Doctors would be able to harvest corneas, eyes, heart valves, blood vessels, skin and bones when a person was declared brain-dead, Jamaliah said.
“If a person dies at home, his family members can contact any nearby government hospitals within six hours so that surgeons are able to harvest the corneas at home,” she said.
If you would like to become an organ donor, contact the toll-free number 1-800-88-9080 or 03-2694 2704/2705.

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