“Grief is a journey, often perilous and without clear direction, that must be taken. The experience of grieving cannot be ordered or categorised, hurried or controlled, pushed aside or ignored indefinitely. It is inevitable as breathing, as change, as love. It may be postponed, but it will not be denied.”
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.
Though sometimes the decisions are trivial by 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.
The need for organ and tissue transplantation is vast but impossible to overcome without people who, despite the pain and finality of death, still decide to help others in need.
There are so many myths about the donation and retrieval process. Some people think it is against their religion or worry that the procedure is disfiguring. Others wonder about the cost or who will benefit from their loved one’s donation. Still, others think their loved one was too young, too old, or too sick to be a donor. Following are some facts about donation.
What can be donated at this time?
Corneas – The thin, clear tissue layer that covers the iris and pupil can be carefully removed and used in transplantation to give or restore sight to a blind or severely impaired person.
Bone & Tendons – The long bones in the limbs (arms & legs) can surgically be removed and used for transplantation in patients who have suffered bone loss due to trauma, injury or disease and can provide new ability and quality of life.
Heart Valves – Sometimes only natural valves can be used to correct a dysfunction in the heart of a patient and will not only improve, but save his or her life.
Skin – Only the very top layer of skin (epidermis) is carefully removed in some areas of the body and is used very efficiently in the treatment and transplantation of burn victims.
You may choose to donate only one or even all of the above tissues. Although time is of the essence, Bone Tissue can be donated up to 4 days after death.
Is there a charge for donating tissue?
No, you would neither pay nor receive any payment for tissue donation. The cost of the procedure is paid for by the CTE. is the tissue retrieval done? A specially trained team conducts the procedure in either the hospital, the local mortuary or at the funeral home of your choice.
Will my loved one be treated with dignity?
CTE employs only professionals who are bound by very strict codes of conduct to ensure that each donor is treated with the utmost respect and dignity. The donor’s body is not disfigured in any way and prosthesis is used in all cases to reconstruct the area of retrieval. Donation, therefore, does not prevent you from having a normal viewing or open coffin on the day of the cremation or burial service.
Will donation delay the funeral?
No. CTE, in collaboration with the funeral home, will work within the time limits as determined by your funeral arrangements.
The decision to donate tissue of a loved one who has died is not easy for some people. In many cases, people simply never thought about the opportunity to give life to another individual or discussed it with the person who is now gone. Thinking about the following questions may help you and your family reach an agreement about donation.
Why should I donate?
People donate for many different reasons. For some, donation is a way of turning a senseless tragedy into something meaningful, helping others and lessening their grief. Other people consider tissue donation a practical matter and make their decision in an unemotional way. If you are struggling with the issue, think about what kind of person your loved one was. Would he or she help someone if given the chance? Could this act of generosity leave a final legacy of hope?
Will I know who gets my loved one’s tissue?
For privacy and legislative reasons, donors and recipients are not identified.
What happens after we decide to donate?
Contact our coordinators by telephone or tell your funeral director, doctor or the medical staff at the hospital. You will then be asked to complete and sign the necessary consent form. The CTE will then make the relevant arrangements to perform the retrieval as soon as possible.