- Can we use artistic creativity to help encourage more people to take a stand for organ donation? Using conversations, meetings and dialogue across national borders and continents we hope to create opportunities for everyone to make their wishes on this issue known. Investigations show that the majority of us are willing to donate our organs after our deaths, but that we have not made our wishes known. One reason for this may be that we do not want to think or talk about death. Artistic creativity has the power and capacity to reach out to many people irrespective of language or religion, and this is the reason that it is important to carry out this work. More people taking a stand for organ donation means more lives being saved, and also the possibility that illegal organ trading will decrease and finally disappear altogether. Our work in Recycle Me can contribute to building bridges between people all over the world.
Recycle Me is a non-profit art and design project the aim of which is to take a stand for organ donation and make it visible through creative design, a message that is currently being spread in the form of a designed T-shirt logo and jewellery in the form of human organs. Wearing these T-shirts and pieces of jewellery is a way of demonstrating one’s stand for organ donation and of disseminating the message. The project has also been widely spread by means of photographs of people with different backgrounds, lives and professions all wearing Recycle Me T-shirts. Common to them all is that they support the organisation.
The sales profits go in full to GelinStiftelsen (The Gelin Foundation) that supports and grants scientific research and development in the field of transplantation. The product can be purchased at The Gelin Foundation
Diseased organs and tissues can be replaced through the transplantation of healthy organs and tissues from another person. It is possible nowadays to transplant organs such as kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs and pancreas. It is also possible to transplant tissues such as skin, bone, corneas and cardiac valves. It is not necessary for anybody to abstain from making known his or her wish to donate for reasons of age, living habits or possible illnesses. The medical services give everyone who registers as a donor a thorough medical examination if he or she should come into question for donation.
For an organ donation to be possible, a person must die and be certified as dead of a total brain infarct while currently being treated in a respirator. In these circumstances the heart is being oxygenated although the person is dead. Only a few of the people who die each year in Sweden, around 300 out of circa 95,000 persons, can be considered as organ donors.
In order to establish death, the doctors make several thorough examinations. Sometimes even the blood vessels in the brain are subjected to contrast x-rays. According to the law, treatment by respirator may be continued for a maximum of 24 hours after death has been established in order to investigate whether or not an organ donation can be considered.
It is the duty of the medical services to find out the deceased person’s point of view and it is always his or her most recently expressed wish that counts. They look for a donor card, search the Donor Register and ask the next-of-kin. When a person’s wishes are unclear then consent is the point of departure, although in that case the next-of-kin have the right of veto.
To avoid a difficult situation for your next-of-kin, in which they have to make a decision on your behalf, you need to make a decision yourself and also to make your decision known. Source: The Swedish Council for Organ and Tissue Donation (Donationsrådet).
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