Insurance For An Organ Donor

The miracles of transplant surgery have given so many whose body organs have failed a new lease on life. Heart, liver and kidney transplants are no longer experimental procedures done with fingers crossed and only temporary results expected. Receiving these organs is a lifesaver for those recipients involved. But what is the insurance fate of organ donors?

Most transplant recipients are parts of difficult insurance dilemmas, not only from the life of the organ transplanted but also from the underlying conditions that necessitated the transplant, as well as the medications (some being powerful immunosuppressants) that affect other body systems and overall resistance to disease and infection.

Few give a thought about what happens to the donor. Since a heart transplant would be a lethal consequence for a donor, let’s concentrate on the other two major types—liver and kidney transplant . Liver donors generally have to be between the ages of 18 and 55, and depending on whether they want to be considered for a specific recipient or not (family for example) don’t necessarily have to be blood related. There has to be an emotional relationship with the intended recipient—payment for organ donation is illegal under the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 (NOTA).

Liver transplant surgery, even on the donor part, is an involved procedure and generally takes about five hours. The donor remains in the hospital for about a week. The right lobe is the most commonly removed part, and during the surgery about 40-60 percent of the donor’s liver is removed (quite a lot!). The liver though begins to regenerate quickly—a large portion in the first two weeks and more slowly thereafter in the months ahead. It’s quite painful, and surgeons recommend the donor stay off work for eight weeks, even longer if the job requires physical exertion or lifting. Read More

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