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To Our Children Section

Tissue donations can become life-saving gifts
The Murray State News

Many people may not realise how important tissue donation is.

Corneas, bone, skin, heart valves and blood vessels are just some of the organs needed for donation.

One cornea donation has the potential to provide two people with sight. The sclera or white part of the eye has many uses one of which is treating glaucoma, preventing blindness.

Donated heart valves are used to replace a diseased or defective heart valve.

They are also used in reconstructive surgery of children born with congenital heart deformities. Two people may benefit from one heart valve donation.

Skin is removed from the abdomen, middle to lower back, buttocks and the front and back of the thigh. The skin removed is about as thick as a facial tissue.

Donated skin is used with burn victims. It can be placed on a wound and left up to six weeks. During this time, the patient has the opportunity to grow his or her own skin without the trauma of losing new skin tissue to dressing changes. Also, by covering the wound, the risk of infection is reduced. One skin donor can help up to eight people.

Bone donations are used in orthopaedic, neurosurgical and plastic surgeries. Some of these surgeries are spinal fusions and reconstructive surgeries. For people who have bone tumours, or a traumatic bone crushing injury, the bone can simply be removed and replaced with new bone, preventing an amputation of the limb. One bone donor can affect as many as one hundred people.

Saphenous veins are the large veins located in the leg. Saphenous vein can be used for people who are having coronary artery by-pass grafting or for people who have severe vascular diseases and need vascular surgeries. A vein donor can help as many as three people.

Wishes to donate tissues for either transplantation or research can be indicated in the same way as organ donation: by signing your driver's license.

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