Organ Transplants Essay, Research Paper
Being assigned the subject, organ transplants, I realized very quickly that this
could cover a broad area. Does this mean animal to human transplants, (there’s no way I
am going to get into the rights of animals on this one) artificial organ transplants, living
donor transplants or partial transplants, such as bone marrow and fetal brain cells, cloning
body parts to make them available for transplant or transplants from a cadaver. I decided
in order to write a productive paper I would need to focus on one or two areas I have
chosen human transplants as I know someone personally who has had to deal with this.
Science and technology have advanced a long way since the first transplant. Limb
transplants have become the newest frontier in medical transplants.
Transplants are not always used to just save lives but many times transplants are
done to make the quality of life better for the recipient . “About 25 human organs can
now be transplanted and the list is growing daily. The most commonly performed
transplantations are the kidney, cornea, and bone marrow transplants” (The Volume
Kidneys for transplantation may be obtained from living donors or cadavers; other
organs can be obtained only from cadavers. Organs from cadavers must be obtained very
soon after death; they may, however, subsequently be preserved for some hours by cooling
and other procedures.
Liver transplantation is technically very difficult, and the transplant must begin to
function at once if the patient is to survive, since there is no satisfactory artificial liver. On
the other hand, rejection is more easily prevented in a kidney transplant .
I am sure you remember the series of Frankenstein movies that were once out. In
case you don’t know, Dr. Frankenstein collected body parts from several different
cadavers to make a super human. Many refer to organ transplantation as Dr.
Frankenstein Method of saving lives. Their point being that it is ghoulish to take a body
part from one person and put it in another. I feel that this is a unfair and uneducated
referral to a life saving technique that is giving hope to persons who were at one time in a
Such was the case with Kenny Lutz as he returned from working a 12-hour shift
one day. He became ill and drove himself to the hospital only to find out that he had
cardiomyopathy. There is no cure for the disease but doctors managed it for several years
with medication and a pacemaker. Also a AICD was installed in his chest. Even though he
seemed to defy all the odds , his health continued to deteriorate. It became apparent that
he would need a heart transplant. Doctors were telling his family it was just a matter of
hours and then the news came that a donor heart had been found. “A 32-year old man had
lost his life in a tragic car accident in Indianapolis, Indiana, and his family had donated his
organs. The heart was a perfect match and the transplant took place. His health improved
immediately” (The Journal Gazette).
Kenny and his wife Gale were here to visit last spring. He had a overnight case of
anti-rejection medication and other medicines he had to take but he seemed quiet well.
Before he left I had to ask if at any time he felt that other man’s emotions and etc. After
all he had the heart of another man in him. He stated he was different; however, he did
not feel that it was from the donor heart. He said no one could come that close to death
and not be a changed man. Kenny is still doing quiet well.
Heart transplantation resembles liver transplantation in that the patient’s life
depends on the transplant’s ability to function at once. It is a technically easier operation,
but rejection is difficult to recognize early and seems even more difficult to prevent.
Other human organs that have been transplanted with at least some success include
the pancreas and the lungs. Lungs have been grafted most successfully when combined
with the heart in a heart-and-lung transplant.
Corneal transplants from cadavers have been highly successful. Rejection rates are
low because the graft bed has no blood vessels but is nourished by diffusion from the
tissues. Since blood carries most of the rejection factors, corneal allografts survive
A big argument against transplants is religion; however, controversial to what
many may say, none of the major world religions oppose organ donation. Amish,
Buddhism, Catholicism, Christian Science, Greek Orthodox, Hinduism, Islam, Jehovah’s
Witness, Judaism, Protestantism, Mormon, and Quaker all permit, allow, and support
transplantation and organ donation.
Another argument against organ transplants is that the distribution of organs
available for transplant is done unfairly. Many claim that the wealthy and powerful receive
the organs first .
One organization, known as CORE, was founded in 1977 as the Transplant Organ
Procurement Foundation of Western Pennsylvania, and later known as the Pittsburgh
Transplant Foundation, CORE changed to its existing name in 1992 to reflect its
expanding role in the procurement field. CORE is one of 63 federally-designated entities in
the U.S. known as a non-profit organ procurement organization (OPO). Founded in
1977 as the Transplant Organ Procurement Foundation of Western Pennsylvania, and later
known as the Pittsburgh Transplant Foundation, CORE changed to its existing name in
1992 to reflect its expanding role in the procurement field.
Common arguments against organ donation are:
1. I do not want my body “cut-up.” Donated organs, tissues and eyes are
removed surgically, in an operation similar to gallbladder or appendix
removal. Normal funeral arrangements are possible.
2. My family would be expected to pay for donating my organs. A donor’s family is not
charged for donation. If a family believes it has been billed incorrectly, the family
immediately should contact its local organ procurement organization.
3. I cannot choose what I want donated. You may specify what you want to
donate. Your wishes will be followed.
4. If I am in an accident and the hospital knows that I want to be a donor, the doctors
and nurses will not try to save my life. Physicians and nurses will do everything
possible to try to save your life. In fact, the medical team treating you is separate
from the transplant team. CORE is responsible for contacting the transplant team, and
CORE is not notified regarding a potential donor until all lifesaving efforts have failed.
The transplant team is not notified by CORE until after consent for donation has been
5. I am not the right age for donation. Organs may be donated from someone as young as
newborn. There are no age limits for organ donation. The general age limit for tissue
donation is 60, and for eyes, 70.
6. If I do not sign a donor card, my family cannot donate organs. Even without a donor
card or donor designation on the license, families of suitable donors will be offered the
opportunity to donate.
7. People are taking kidneys from travelers and then selling them. A man was in a
swimming pool, and when he awakened, his liver was missing. USE COMMON
SENSE. No matter who insists these stories are true, they are not true! They are urban
myths that have circulated for years, most recently on the Internet. Think about it: If it
were that easy to get kidneys, 35,000 people would not be waiting for them. Secondly,
if someone’s liver were missing, he would not awaken to tell anyone, because he would
have bled to death.
8. Wealthy people are the only people who receive transplants. Anyone requiring a
transplant is eligible for one. In fact, most major insurance companies provide
coverage for heart, liver, kidney, and lung transplants.
9. “I have a history of medical illness. You would not want anything from me. Few
illnesses will eliminate someone’s ability to donate; however, at the time of death,
CORE will review medical and social histories to determine donor suitability on a case-
by-case basis” (www.yahoo.com).
After researching and finishing this paper I have come to the conclusion that if I have to
take a stance, I would have to say I am for organ transplants. It is a really hard decision
but it does save lives, I must add that this is such a personal issue. I could list the pros and
cons of organ transplants for five or even ten more pages and it would not change what
one feels inside. This is a decision that has to be made within.
If you choose to donate, sign that drivers license. Always keep an open mind when
reading of an organ transplant . As morbid as it may sound, I would rather have my
organs taken from my body, after death, and passed on to keep someone else alive as to
have them buried . The next person needing a heart, liver, pancreas, etc. to live another
day, week, or month, may be your loved one.
Anonymous. “Organ Transplants.” (www.yahoo.com).
Anonymous. “Organ Transplantations.” The Volume Library. The Southwestern
Company: 1992, 1034.
Lazzell, Terri Hughes. “Life begins anew.” The Journal Gazette. 25 August 1995, 1C.