Organ donation by a living donor -- a practice providing new hope to many of the more than 80,000 people awaiting life-saving transplants -- comes with significant risks, and the thousands of people who make the decision each year should be well aware of them. That's the message of a national public-awareness campaign by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations aimed at helping potential donors understand what to expect and what to ask. "Some (donors) have said that they were not fully aware of what surgery would entail and the short-term and long-term risks to which they would be exposed," JCAHO President Dennis O'Leary said. More than 6,000 people each year decide to donate organs that they can survive without, such as a kidney or part of a liver. In addition to lost work time, living donors face the risk of complications in undergoing surgery. Some experience setbacks and might eventually require a transplant themselves. The JCAHO Web site offers a brochure providing specific guidance to living organ donors, and the organization plans to issue a white paper later this year on the larger issue of narrowing the national shortage of organ donations. -- by John Morrissey
JCAHO campaign to educate living organ donors
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