Advocacy Children's Health

The Greatest Gift: Organ Donation

April is National Donate Life Month, and Children’s Hospital of Georgia honors the gift of organ donation and recognizes the need to provide information on how to register to become organ donors.

Organ donation typically involves an extremely difficult time for two families. One family is stricken with grief while the other family is coping with illness. The decision to donate organs is a highly personal decision that often involves religious or spiritual beliefs. Many times, family members are able to help ease the pain of the death of a loved one, knowing that the loved one’s death was not in vain. Donation of organs gives another patient a new lease on life. The decision to register to become an organ donor can be made at any time, and adults are encouraged to register for organ donation in the event of an untimely passing. Registering makes your wishes clear to family members and hospital staff. Anyone can be a donor regardless of his or her medical history, and it does not cost anything to sign up, nor does it cost to donate.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, Gateway, “The number of individuals who are on the national transplant waiting list remains far in excess of the number of organs recovered and transplanted. Children from birth to 17 years of age account for approximately 2% to 3% of the national waiting list. More than 70% of the children on the list are waiting for a liver or a kidney, and the small bowel is the organ with the greatest increase in need.”

Medical advances have made it possible to use the heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, liver, intestines, corneas, skin, tendons, bone and heart valves in transplant procedures. One donor can contribute to up to eight chronically ill patients.

Kidney paired donation programs offer family members who are not compatible to donate to their loved one, the opportunity to donate to someone’s loved-one and to have someone else donate back in return.

CHOG’s Kidney Transplant Program has given scores of children with end stage renal disease a new lease on life since the program was founded in 1969.Working closely with pediatric nephrologists, caregivers guide children with end stage renal disease through transplantation and help them return to normal lives as quickly as possible. Care is delivered in a child-friendly environment.

The program has a 100 percent success rate, defined as transplanted kidney survival and function at both the one-year and three-year marks over the last six years as reported by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients.

Augusta University Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program:
• Performed its first transplant on August 28, 1968
• Provides services for adult and pediatric patients
• Participates in kidney paired donation programs
• Is the only kidney transplant center in Georgia outside of Atlanta
• Offers satellite clinic locations for pre-transplant evaluation testing and post-transplant follow-up care
• Employs a full-time fundraising coordinator to assist patients in developing financial plans for post-transplant medication costs
• Participates in consistent patient outreach efforts in Georgia and
South Carolina

Augusta University Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program, along with their patient volunteers, will partner with Donate Life throughout April in an awareness campaign to honor the gift of organ donation and provide information on how people can register to become an organ donor. This team also works year-round to raise money to help kidney transplant patients, living donors and their loved ones with transplant-related expenses.

For more information on their events, how you can get involved or to purchase a Give Life shirt, visit augustahealth.org/transplant-program/donate-life-month-shop/donate-life-month-shop.

For more information on the Pediatric Nephrology Department at CHOG, visit our website at augusthealth.org/chog or call 706-721-KIDS (5437).

To obtain information or to register to become an organ donor in any state,

visit organdonor.gov/becomingdonor/.
Sources: AAP Gateway
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
augustahealth.org

 

About the author

Children's Hospital of Georgia

Children's Hospital of Georgia

Children’s Hospital of Georgia is the only facility in the area dedicated exclusively to children. It staffs the largest team of pediatric specialists in the region who deliver out- and in- patient care for everything from common childhood illnesses to life-threatening conditions like heart disorders, cancer and neurological diseases.

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