Organ expert appeals to new community


By T.M. Fok, The China Post

The China Post–“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust” is the immediate fate of all living people when they die, except for he, or she, who donates an organ or two. An organ donor, at least part of him or her, may live on for longer, with his or her organs properly cared for in the body of the recipients. Are You Willing to Help? Organ donation does no harm to a deceased person, said Dr. Yang-jen Chiang (江仰仁), M.D., chief executive officer of the Taiwan Organ Registry and Sharing Center ((財團法人器官移植登錄中心, TORSC). “And, of course, nor does it do any good,” he was quick to add. “As such, posthumous donation of organs for transplant,” he said, “is entirely a question of whether or not you want to help those whose lives could be saved with an organ transplant.”

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust” is the immediate fate of all living people when they die, except for he, or she, who donates an organ or two, Chiang said. “An organ donor, at least part of him or her, may live on for longer, with his or her organs properly cared for in the body of the recipients,” he explained. Thus, the mission of the TORSC, according to the 51-year-old surgical urologist, is to help potential organ donors make up their minds and know which organizations to approach before the end of their lives.

President Ma Ying-jeou, as a “card-carrying” potential donor who has registered with TORSC, has made up his mind, according to TORSC. But sadly, the overall situation is dire, to say the least.

The chronic shortage of organ donors in the country means that for the over 7000 people each year awaiting an organ transplant, only 150 donors are found, or an organ donation of match rate of 0.00066 percent. Many patients have passed away due to organ failure before the needed organ becomes available, according to the TORSC website. The Taiwan Organ Registry and Sharing Center (TORSC) Originally a brainchild of the Cabinet-level Department of Health, TORSC serves as a bridge between the donors, recipients, and organ transplant hospitals. Established in January of 2003 to assist the government with registering organ donations and transplant operations, building of database and related activities,

TORSC oversees the distribution and delivery of donor organs, including hearts, livers, and kidneys, to participant hospitals and has been known to be even-handed and impartial in its work, according to Chiang.

TORSC is also dedicated to improving the rates of organ donation and transplant success in Taiwan, building a fair, open and transparent sharing system, and shortening the organ transplant waiting time for patients in order to improve the effective use of donated organs. With advances in medical science, Taiwan’s organ donation medical expertise has achieved significant success, according to Chiang, who attributed Taiwan’s laudable track record to its early start. “We started doing kidney transplant surgery in the 1960s,” when the unavailability of such services forced people in Hong Kong to come Taiwan for such surgery, he said.

Organ donation and transplant are borderless, Chiang told the China Post in an interview on Saturday.

No Boundaries for Donors