The idea of transplanting organs and parts of the body from one person to another is very old. The first human organ to be succesfully transplanted - in the 1950s - wasa kidney. The first succesful heart transplant was conducted not until 1976 in Kapstadt.
A transplant is the replacement of a diseased organ with a new fully functional one. The key to a succesfull organ transplant is finding the right donor in the right time. Another problem is rejection of the new organ, because the body's immune system identifies the transplant as a foregin object and so sets about destroing it. Before the operation patient gets cyclosporin, a worldwide used drug that prevents the patient body from rejecting a new organ. Good way to avoid rejection to some extend are family-oriented transplants, which are completely underestimated in Poland. But I think that now thanks to e.g. Klan many people realized that they could get a kidney or bone marrow from a living donor.
The closer relative is willing to give you a part of his/her body the lower hazard of rejection is. A donor can be a sibling, a parent, a son or daughter. Their bodies are similar in the make up of their tissue, which incredably increases a chance of a succesfull transplant. According to scientistc there is a very high succes rate of organ transplants where the organ was donated by a loving long-time partner. But when are in a need of a heart even the most loving person won't give you one. The same stands to cornea or lungs. In this case you need a person who is pronounced as brain-dead, because we only live as long as our brains.
A committee consisting of a neurologist, anestesiologist and coroner has has to unanimously decide whether brain stem of the donor ceased to function permanently. Removing the vital organ is a complicated procedure. In the hospital the organs may retain their full function from a few to to more than 12 - 13 hours. If the organ must be transported to a distant room it is rinsed, packed in sterile plastic bag with saline solution and put in a cooler. Then it is race against the clock. A heart must be transplanted into a new body within four hours, a liver should be transfered from one body to another right away, and kidneys can be stored up for two days.
It is very difficult to have a transplant operation in Poland because the list of potential transplant candidates is very long. Two tousand people die every year of kidney failure. They could have survived if the donor had been found in time. Seventy % patients with heart disease die while waiting for a heart transplant.
The law doesn't force the doctor to ask for a permission of the family to transplant the corpses organ anymore. The law states now that if you where not against donating your organs while you where alive then they could be used to save other peoples live in the event of your death. In England anyone who feels like donating any of his organs after his death, carries a signed Donor Card, by which he agrees to have the organ removed.
One man is able to save even four other people : a taker of a heart, liver and two kidneys. Usually victims of car accidents become valuable sources of organs for transplants. Still, the demand for human organs is enormous. If only they were more readily available, a greater number of lives could be saved.