Organ donors who have signed a donation card to express their hope of donating organs might be in for a rude shock come donation time.
80% of organ donations are stopped by family members.
As reported by Bernama, head of Transplantation Unit, Medical Development Division in the Health Ministry Dr Raja Farah has said that the families disagree with organ donors and refuse to honour the donor’s decision.
Even if the donor has a organ donation pledge card, doctors still have to ask family members of the donor for approval.
In most cases, family members end up refusing to honor the donation because they didn’t know or didn’t agree with the wishes of the deceased.
Time is of the essence with organ donations, as each body part has a very limited “lifespan” before the tissue cells die and cannot be transplanted to another patient.
Therefore, it’s critical that family members are always aware of the donor’s wishes so permission can be given quickly.
According to statistics from the Health Ministry, as of September 31st 2019, only around 1.3% of Malaysians are registered organ donors after death.
Since there’s also a high rate of donation refusal, it means that only 20 to 30 people a year actually donate their organs.
Yet, the waiting list for organ transplants in Malaysia are in the thousands. There are some 25,000 patients waiting for kidney transplants alone.
A study by University Malaya came to the conclusion that lack of education was one of the key factors as to why organ donation is still so strongly opposed.
In Malaysia, there are many misconceptions regarding organ donation. Many Malaysians believe that the deceased must be buried ‘whole’ and therefore cannot have their organs removed.
However, in Malaysia, and even across the globe, almost all religions allow for organ donations. Since the donation is a positive direct impact on saving another’s life, it is considered a compassionate act.
Families should honour the organ donor’s wishes and give permission, especially if the donor has explicitly signed their organ donation pledge.
Anne is an advocate of sustainable living and the circular economy, and has managed to mum-nag the team into using reusable containers to tapau food. She is also a proud parent of 4 cats and 1 rabbit.