August is organ donor month . Did you know that one person can save seven lives?
According to The Organ Donor Foundation (ODF), there are approximately 4,300 South African adults and children awaiting a life-saving organ and cornea transplant. My daughter who is an organ donor by choice recently had the following experience.
As she had to have a copy of her ID document certified, she went with her ID and a copy to the nearest Metro Police Offices. The relevant organ donor sticker is in her ID. ( see the photo below ) On perusal of her ID the Metro Police Officer came across this extra endorsement and wanted to know what it means?
My daughter explained that if she were to die, for instance in an accident, her organs could be retrieved and used to save another person’s life. The reaction from the officer was: “Eish if you are in accident, they cut you when you are cold and take your heart or kidneys ?” Then with much shaking of her head and a very puzzled expression on her face she said: ” is pàìnnful ! “
She just could not understand the concept and kept on repeating ” is pàìnnful!.” The more my daughter tried to explain that it would only happen if she was already dead, the more she shook her head and said : “is pàìnnful! “
Although the story is quite funny it can have serious consequences. My question is: Shouldn’t a Metro Police Officer who often is the first official on an accident scene be trained in and understand the concept of organ donation? How would such an untrained officer handle the situation and might the window of opportunity to retrieve the organs not be lost due to ignorance? Healthy organs should be transplanted as soon as possible from the donor to the recipient. What use would it then be that my well meaning daughter went to the trouble to register as an organ donor?