Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / a gift of life

Not too long ago on this space, I wrote about finally collecting my organ donor’s card in a blog post here, and urged that many of you should do the same. In this country, it is as simple as heading to

organ donor card

Now let me elaborate a little bit more on organ donation and its importance to the over 15,000 people in this country.

 What is Organ Transplant?

Organ transplant is the best treatment option to save lives of patients with terminal stage of organ failure. The damaged organ is replaced with healthy organ from either deceased (cadaveric) donor with permission, or donor who are still living (such is the case of kidney or liver, and only from family members)

For patients with terminal stages of heart, liver, and lung organ failure, organ transplant is often the only hope to continue living. For patients with kidney failure, continual dialysis is an alternative treatment, but one that costs RM 120-150 per session, which translate to RM 1500+ to RM 3000+ per month.

Organ and Tissue Donation After Death

In Malaysia, both organs and tissues can be donated for donors who experienced brain death, but only tissues can be harvested for donors who experienced cardiac death. Less than 2% of death in hospitals are of the brain death category.

Two separate doctors with no connection to organ donation will run tests and certify if the person to be officially brain dead (and not under coma) before the artificial heart-lung machine can be switched off.

This is important and ensures there will be no conflict on interests, the fear of “what if they take my organs instead of trying to save me” is completely unfounded.

Organs that can be donated in Malaysia

Heart, lung, kidney, and liver

Tissues that can be donated in Malaysia

Skin, heart valves, cornea, bones

Why is cadaveric organ donor important in Malaysia?

Huge disparity between the number of patients who needs organ replacement and the number of donors.

For patients who has heart, lung, or liver failure, organ transplant is their only hope to stay alive, cadaveric organ donors who experienced brain death can provide these organs.

Cadaveric organ donation is preferred to live donors for cases such as kidneys due to lower risks.

Every cadaveric organ donor can potentially  save up to 6 lives and gives sight to 2 other person!

If you’ve been following the news lately, you would have come across the news of Hui Yee, the heart transplant girl.

Hui Yee underwent double heart transplant on Oct 4 and Oct 5, 2007 from two different donors. The first from a Malay man in Sitiawan but was rejected by her body, and second from a Chinese man from Kangkar Pulai which was successful.

With the donor heart she was able to return to school and went on to live well until she passed away after complaining of chest pain this september.

Without organ donors, Hui Yee’s story would have been very different.

Some Statistics (As of August 31, 2012)

  • 203,497 people have pledge to be organ donors
  • 145,804 people have registered as organ donors for all organs and tissues
  • in 2011 alone, 30,469 people have registered

Over 15,552 patients are waiting for organ transplant

  • kidney – over 15,000
  • liver – 6 adults, 11 children
  • heart – 8
  • lung – 3
  • heart and lung – 3

Organ donation and religion

Organ donation is not prohibited in Islam, Christianity, Buddism, Hinduism, or in the Sikh religion.

There is also a national organ donation awareness week from 14-21 October, 2012.

So what can you do? Isn’t it time to register yourself as an organ donor? For more information via many different channels:

It’s time to do the right thing!

I’m finally officially an organ donor here in Malaysia.

I was a registered organ donor while in the States, and over there all you had to do is checking a box while applying driver’s license. I wish the procedure is as simple over here but they are improving.

I urge you to be an organ donor as well, all you have to do is head to the National Transplant Resource Center and register online. It takes only a few minutes, and could help change someone’s life forever.

organ donor card

You’ll get an official donor’s card via mail, and keeping this card in your wallet all the time ensures that time-critical organs can be harvested without delay should anything happen the donor.

I’m told that donor’s bodies will be treated with utmost respect, and that a separate panel will have to ensure that nothing further can be done to help the person before the status is changed to an organ donor. The fear of “they’ll give up and use my body as spare parts instead” is pretty much unfounded.

So, do the right thing and be an organ donor today!

p/s: I first read this on Deep’s blog entry, thanks!