Receiving an organ transplant – or becoming a living organ donor – is a life-changing event. If you’ve received a new kidney, liver, heart, lung or other organ, the transplant can mean a new lease on life. For the living donor, it’s a chance to help someone in desperate need of a healthy organ. For both recipients and donors, staying safe and healthy afterwards is your number one priority. That’s why wearing a medical ID is critically important for transplant recipients and living donors.
In an emergency, first responders need to know about your transplant status, if certain diagnostic tests are contraindicated, and if you’re taking medications like anti-rejection drugs that could affect your treatment. First responders are trained to look for MedicAlert IDs. When a first responder contacts MedicAlert’s 24/7 emergency response team, we’ll relay your emergency medical history so you can receive the proper care and treatment. If you’ve had an organ transplant or donated an organ, wearing a MedicAlert ID can save your life in an emergency.
Should a transplant recipient wear a medical ID?
The transplant status of a patient is an essential component in deciding proper medical care and treatment choices; however, there are no instant or clear indicators that an individual is a transplant recipient. Therefore, a medical ID is strongly recommended for every kind of organ transplant.
For recipients who are reluctant to wear an ID because they would be identifying themselves as transplant recipients, it’s important to know that organ transplant IDs are for your safety. Wearing a medical ID could make a a lifesaving difference in an emergency situation. Currently, even with up-to-date technology, physicians still recommend a medical identification for anyone with organ transplants.
What should an organ recipient put on their medical ID?
An organ transplant recipient medical ID should have the following information:
- Type and date of organ transplant
- Medications you’re taking, especially anti-rejection meds or other immunosuppressants
- Other medical conditions that might or might not be connected to the organ transplant, such as chronic kidney disease, diabetes, or heart disease
Transplant patients frequently take numerous medications, and consequently are more likely to suffer from hazardous drug interactions. Information engraved on medical ID can alert physicians, nurses, responders, and other healthcare personnel about the transplant status of a patient.
It is imperative to safeguard transplanted organs by doing whatever it takes to remain healthy. This consists of appropriate communication of vital medical information that a first responder should be aware of, especially in emergencies when a patient might have lost consciousness or cannot speak.
Understanding living donors
A living donor is an alternative for patients who otherwise might confront a prolonged wait for an organ from a deceased donor. Living donation occurs when a living individual donates a part of or an entire organ to be transplanted in another individual. Living donations made by relatives like a parent, child, or sibling are called ‘living related donations’; those made by a person who has an emotional relationship to the recipient — like a close friend, spouse, or in-law — are regarded as a ‘living unrelated donation’. With the creation of enhanced medications, the donor and recipient do not have to be genetically connected to guarantee an effective transplant. In a few cases, a stranger can make a living donation, which is known as an anonymous or non-directed donation.
Long term impact of being a living organ donor
The hazards connected to a living-donor organ donation consist of both temporary and enduring health hazards of the surgical procedure, organ function, and mental problems following the organ donation. In general, available data indicates organ donors cope extremely well in the long run.
In some cases, organ donors might experience mental health problems like anxiety and depression. If the donated organ were to fail in the recipient, the donor might feel a sense of regret, anger, or resentment. The recognized health hazards connected to living-organ donation differ according to the kind of donation. To reduce dangers, you must undergo extensive testing to guarantee you are qualified to donate.
Types of organ donation risks
The first living-donor liver transplant was done in 1989, and since then the procedures have vastly improved, as more and more procedures have made the techniques involved more sophisticated. Like any surgical procedure, living-liver donation might include surgical problems like infection, discomfort, and other risks, but it is generally considered a safe procedure.
A living-donor kidney transplant is the most extensively examined kind of living-organ donation, with over fifty years of supplemental information. Most studies indicate that the life expectancy of living kidney donors is the same as identically matched individuals who have not donated organs. Some longer-term problems connected to living-kidney donation can be high blood pressure, higher protein levels in urine, and decreased kidney function.
Transplant patients who wear a MedicAlert bracelet can feel confident that they will receive proper treatment, helping to ensure that tests, procedures, and medications are safe for them, especially in emergency situations. In these instances, an organ transplant recipient’s medical ID can make vital information available, such as how to get in touch with the physician and/or the transport medical team for essential medical diagnostics.