[Letter to the editor]A national donation effort needed
The late boxer Choi Yo-sam donated every organ he could after his death. For this he is remembered warmly in people’s hearts. Due to news of his organ donations, many people have registered to donate their organs. But how long will we remember the “Everlasting Champ” who gave the gift of precious life to six people? Actually the level of organ donations here is not nearly high enough. Even at this moment, people who might have recovered their health will die because there are no organs for them. Due to a lack of understanding and institutional limits, organs that could be donated go to the grave.
In developed countries, organ donations are growing annually. And the number of countries putting in an opt-out system is increasing. The opt-out system considers each person as a potential donor except those who refuse to donate. In some countries, people are asked to indicate whether they wish to become an organ donor when issued a driver’s license and medical insurance. Owing to national efforts and institutional support, 70-80 percent of people in developed countries are candidates for organ donation. And the rate of donation from brain-dead patients is 30 per 100. But in Korea only 0.8 percent are registered as organ donors. The rate of donation is only three per 1 million. Organ donation is a beautiful and dignified act. But there has to be a national effort and institutional support to sustain such acts.
Park Jin-tak, chairman,
Korean Organ & Tissue Donor Program