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The eighth Summer - A film by Andrea Schramm


Transplantation

Two lovers with a zest for life, moments of unbridled happiness and a deadly disease.
more infos about the film


ORGAN DONATION – The Chance for a few Years of Life

The cause could be an accident or a serious illness – everyone can end up in the position to be dependent upon a transplantation. Statistically, it is more likely to require an organ than to become an organ donor.

"When I receive a donor lung and can breathe again, I want to run a half marathon. Right now, I barely manage ten feet to the bathroom. The idea that I could ever run again is plain folly – the half marathon is my big dream!"
Christian Fussy

Chris und Aline Fussy in the hospital Chris waiting for a new lung at the Charité hospital in Berlin

Chris tried to delay the transplantation for many months. But at some point, the antibiotic therapy took no effect anymore and he was breathing at less than one fourth of regular lung capacity. He knew that he would die within a year. So, after consulting his doctors, he decided to have his name placed on a waiting list for donor organs. He had seen many friends who had waited month after month for a transplantation without a fitting organ being found. At some point, they lacked the strength to breathe. These are no isolated cases: In Germany, every day three patients are dying while while waiting for an organ.

4,000 organs are donated in Germany every year. In contrast, there are 12,000 Germans waiting for a donor organ. It takes about six years to receive a kidney and about one year to receive a lung. This is astounding, since two thirds of the population have a positive attitude towards organ donation – but only 15 % are carrying a donor card. Most people repress thoughts about death and also the thought that they or immediate family could one day be dependent on a donor organ. But if it ever gets serious, many relatives are in shock and decide against an organ donation.

LEGAL SITUATION

In Germany, a written or oral declaration of intent is necessary to become an organ donor. If a person has made no decision and dies, immediate family is asked.

At present, organ donation is debated intensely: In the beginning of June, 2011, the German federal cabinet has decided on a draft for a law changing the German Transplantation Act.
The main question is: Is every citizen inherently an organ donor or does one first have to consent? The so-called "dissent solution" manifests that a person who does not want to be an organ donor has to explicitly object during his or her lifetime. This provision is already implemented in 22 European countries and has helped to dramatically decrease the shortage of organs. However, in Germany this provision is not seen as likely to be winning a majority.

Instead, the "decision solution" is favored, which stipulates that every person is asked once during their lifetime – when requesting a new identification card, for example – whether he or she wants to pass along organs or not. Politicians and involved parties hope that this will lead to more persons deciding in favor of organ donation.

Download Organ Donor Card
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