Diocese encourgess gift of organ donationFriday, April 6th, 2012
The Diocese of Cork & Ross is highlighting Organ Donor Awareness Week, which invites people everywhere to consider becoming an organ donor and carrying an organ donor card.
The diocese published a brochure for the occasion with particular emphasis on what the church is saying about organ donation. For example, the Catechism of the Catholic Church describes organ donation as an act that, "is to be encouraged as an expression of generous solidarity," and Pope Benedict XVI has lauded organ donation as, "a unique testimony of charity."
One Cork family describes how their lives changed, “in an instant,” when they needed a heart donation for their one year old granddaughter. They describe the uncertainty and anguish of waiting for a donor and then one became available. “The joy and relief, when all went well, was tempered by the realisation that it took the courage of a brave donor family and the skill of a medical team to make it all possible for us. Their gift has forever transformed our lives.”
There are currently over 600 people awaiting transplants in Ireland.
2011 has been described as a landmark year for organ donation in Ireland. There were 93 deceased organ donors, which allowed 248 organ transplants to be carried out. Of the organs transplanted, 165 kidneys; 61 liver; 6 heart; 8 Lungs; 8 pancreas.
Last year (2011) surpassed the previous record of 91 deceased donors that was set in 1998, in comparison to 58 deceased donors in 2010. In 2009 there were 270 organs obtained from 90 individuals, an increase of 21% on the previous year. Of the organs offered, 172 were used for kidney transplants, 68 for liver transplants, 17 for heart transplants and 13 for lung transplants.
The number of kidney transplants increased by 11% and there were 18 living-donor kidney transplants performed during the year.
The leaflet includes answers to questions about the practicalities involved but also about what the Church has to say about organ donation. It states that various papal statements over the years have reaffirmed the church’s support for organ donation.
In 2008 Pope Benedict XVI said, “The act of love, which is expressed with the gift of one’s own vital organs, is a genuine testament of charity that knows how to look beyond death so that life always wins. The recipient should be aware of the value of this gesture that one receives of a gift that goes beyond the therapeutic benefit. What they receive is a testament of love and is should give rise to a response of equally generous and in this way grows the culture of gift and gratitude.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that for any transplant to be morally and ethically acceptable, the Church insists that the highest ethical and professional standards are maintained, that the process is market by a profound respect for the dignity of the deceased person and that the person and their family have freely consented to the donation.
by Ann Marie Foley