The Charité Clinic – the largest organ donor provider in Germany
Organ transplantation is a medical procedure in which an organ is removed from one body and placed in the body of a recipient, to replace a damaged or missing organ. Organs that have been successfully transplanted include the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas, and intestine. Worldwide, the kidney is the most commonly transplanted organs, followed by the liver and then the heart. Transplantation medicine is one of the most challenging and complex areas of modern medicine.
Around 10,000 patients are waiting for a donor organ in Germany. For them, transplantation is the only way to survive or at least to significantly improve the quality of life. This requires people who provide their organs after death. However, the number of donors nationwide decreases continuously. Contrary to this trend, the Charité University Hospital in Berlin had the largest number of organ donors in Germany in 2017.
In Germany, there are about 1,250 clinics, where organ removal for the future transplantation can be performed. Nationwide, 797 people donated their organs in during the last year – 18 of which at the Charité Clinic. Well-trained professionals at the Berlin University Hospital are the core of a high-quality transplantation medicine: "We have a transplant officer at each of our locations, who is the contact person for all members of our staff in the intensive care unit as well as surgical departments. He is also always in touch with the coordinators of the German Foundation for Organ Transplantation," explains Dr. Joachim Seybold, Deputy Medical Director of the Charité. The responsible persons also take on an advisory and accompanying function for those people who want to become an organ donor. "The discussion of such topics should always stay at the hospital," he adds.
The German Foundation for Organ Transplantation currently has the lowest level of organ donation in 20 years. In order to counteract the current trend and to help as many people on the waiting list as possible by transplantation with a suitable donor organ, confidence in the system of organ donation and transplantation needs to be further developed. "There are strict regulations in Germany," explains Professor Ulrich Frei, medical director of the Charité". The determination of the irreversible failure of all brain functions (also known as brain death) is the prerequisite for postmortem (after death) organ donation. Anyone who decides to donate organs needs to follow certain strict, but clear rules," adds Dr. Frei. Respecting the will of the patient is a duty of every hospital and a prerequisite for giving people on the waiting list the chance of a new life.
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