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Helping Save Lives With Organ Donation

by Andreas Rheinländer, Medical Professional

27th May 2024

Organ Bank

The following text was prepared by Andreas Rheinländer [Dukat], who is a medical doctor outside of his work for The Continuing Committee. The opportunity to discuss this critical topic along side the release of Lifesigns was one we could not let pass us by. Thank you to Andreas for this information.

We want to use this set release to illuminate a topic that is especially dear to (me), who is an M.D.: organ donation. Most people do not come into contact with the topic until it is, in some way, too late. For we have a diverse community with people around the globe, the following depiction is supposed to shed light onto the subject in general.

When people talk about organ donation, they usually mean organs being donated after death. That is surely the most important kind of donation. In such a case, when a person is considered beyond treatment, the willingness to donate an organ becomes important. When that happens, whilst the person is still hooked on machines, various tests (blood, ultrasound) are conducted in order to determine a plethora of biomarkers, as well as the constitution of various organs.

Those markers are trying to be matched with people who need a organ. If there is no match, the topic is usually discarded from this point on. There are only very few cases in which an organ can or should be transplanted without a biomarker match - only in cases in which it is still guaranteed that the organ will not be rejected. Rule of thumb: No match, no transplant. And unlike the Vidiians in Lifesigns, organs cannot be 'stored'. They can only be kept functional for a few hours, usually no longer than that.

When we talk about organ donation, that actually means organs and tissue: all internal organs, the esophagus, menisci, and others. An internal organ is required in a variety of diseases, many of them congenital. The situation regarding legal and medical aspects of organ transplants are extremely different in countries around the world. Since most of our players and collectors come from the U.S., the U.K., Canada Germany, Sweden, Austria, and Australia, here are information sources for these seven countries:

Aside from post-death organ donation, it is also possible to donate an organ while still alive. That is usually only relevant for a relative, because of the high probability of matching biomarkers. 'Living' organ donation is very differently handled in the various countries. Usually, when a relative needs a living transplant, the person asked will be informed about the details by the doctors.

There is also a third kind of 'organ donation', although it is not usually covered under this term: Donating stem cells. That happens only while alive. People willing to donate are always welcome, because the number of suitable matching donors is extremely small - only one in several ten thousand or so. A majority of people in need of a (timely) stem cell transplant are children with blood cancer. The rest of the cases are divided amongst adults and children with rare forms of other blood cancer types.

Here are the respective information sources for the seven countries:

We hope that we could shed some light on this important topic. If you have any questions, concerns or anything else on your mind, do not hesitate to contact me, Andreas Rheinländer a.k.a. Dukat.

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