The Phone Call That Saved Him

Tuesday, August 4, 2015 Life

The author's views on the importance of organ donation and how it can save lives

I got a call on September 12th, 2013 in the evening. It was the co-ordinator. He informed me that my turn had come. Though I was in immense pain after the dialysis, I smiled like a crazy man when I heard the news. This was the call I have been waiting for for the past 4 years. I have been on dialysis three times a week for the past four years. I never switch off my phone. I always carry a power bank with me. I even went to the extent of buying an extra phone in case my current phone stops working. I did all this because I did not want to miss this one call. I feared that if I did not pick up the call then they would call the next person in the waiting list.

This was my life saving call. The thrill of getting new kidneys helped me overcome the freak out session before the surgery. I wanted this badly. Apart from the expenses, I was in pain every single time I underwent dialysis. I wanted to get away from the pain. I wanted to be myself again. But it took 4 years for my turn to come. The sad part is that there are almost two lakh people in India on that waiting list, always on the lookout for that one call.



FAQ's about organ donation

  1. What is organ donation?


Organ donation is the process of giving an organ or a part of an organ for the purpose of transplantation into another person


  1. Which organs can be donated?


Kidneys, heart, liver, pancreas, intestines, lungs, skin, bone, bone marrow and cornea


  1. When can we donate an organ?


Most organ and tissue donations occur after the donor has died. But some organs and tissues may be donated while the donor is still alive. If you are under 18, your parent or guardian must give you permission to become a donor. If you are 18 or older, you can show you want to be a donor by registering yourself.


  1. ‘An open-casket funeral’ - Is that an option for people who have donated organs or tissues?


Organ and tissue donation doesn't interfere with having an open-casket funeral. The donor's body is clothed for burial, so there are no visible signs of organ or tissue donation. For bone donation, a rod is inserted where bone is removed. With skin donation, a very thin layer of skin similar to a sunburn peel is taken from the donor's back. No one can see the difference.


  1. Who can donate an organ?


 Age, caste, religion, community, current or past medical conditions are no barriers to donation. Anyone can be a donor.


  1. What is the age limit for donating organs?

There is no age limit for donating organs. The doctor will decide at the time of your death whether your organs are suitable for donation.


  1. Will I be charged for the surgery?

No, you will not be charged for the surgery. However you are solely responsible for your medical health after the organ donation, should you choose to donate while still alive.


  1. What is the recovery time period?

Approximately two months. But it varies with the organ donated and the type of surgery underwent.


  1. What happens if I decide to be a living donor?

A full body check - up will be done alongside various tests of the organ by a team of doctors to check if your organ and body are suitable for donation.


  1. When can you NOT donate an organ?

-When your blood /tissue is not compatible with the recipient's blood.

- when you are medically compromised

- when you are not acting on your own free will.

If you have active cancer, active HIV, active infection (for example, sepsis) or Intravenous (I.V) drug use, then you cannot donate.


-- Patients who have Hepatitis C may still donate organs to a patient who also has Hepatitis C. The same is true for Hepatitis B — but this happens in very rare cases. Most cancer patients may donate corneas.


  1. Why donate?

 In India

--500,000 people die because of non-availability of organs

--200,000 people die of liver disease

-- 50,000 people die from heart disease

---150,000 people await a kidney transplant but only 5,000 get one –100,000 people suffer from corneal blindness and await a transplant.


With a population of 1.2 billion people, the statistic stands at 0.08 organ donors per million people. This is extremely small and an insignificant number compared to the statistics around the world.


  1. What should be done after registering?

After registering you should inform your family and friends. Once you are deceased their consent is needed before proceeding for organ transplantation. You will receive a card as soon as you register. You should keep it with yourself at all times. This is proof that you have registered for organ donation.


Where can I register to be an organ donor?







For any queries regarding organ donation, please call - 1800 4193737 (Toll free by MOHAN Foundation)



Someday it may be your loved ones who will need an organ. Why not register today? You have nothing to lose after you die. August 13th is celebrated as ‘World Organ Donation day’ so why not make a pledge today?  As Kahlil Gibran wisely remarked - "It is when you give of yourself that you truly give ".