Blog / Why have I decided to become a donor? / The Goal is to Save Life
Why have I decided to become a donor?
The Goal is to Save Life
Svetozar Putnik, MD,
The Goal is to Save Life
When people think of transplantation, they somehow always think only of a team operating in the surgery room. Nobody ever thinks of the people who are to be credited for even reaching that point at all. Andi it is a complicated process, that involves about one hundred people.

The first ones to initiate the whole organ donation process are those doctors who, after establishing the patient's brain death, talk to the family of a potential donor.

After that when the family gives its consent for donation of the patient’s organs, other teams get to action. It is a special team for explantation of heart, special team for liver explantation and another one for kidney explantation. Each of the teams has about 10 to 15 professionals taking care that the precious organ is treated in the best possible way and that it reaches its recipient.

While they are explanting the organ, another team is working on finding the best recipient – this is done by the blood transfusion center, which holds the list of patients waiting for the transplantation. Who will be the first to receive the organ is not determined only by the blood type, but many other factors have to match.

After the best recipients have been found, such information is sent to new teams that will prepare all those patients for the possible transplantation. Several people are usually called for each organ, because beside all checks, the final decision about a person who will get the organ is made by the consultation body made of doctors. Such preparation is the same as when the patient is getting ready for the operation. The patient undergoes all the tests and everything which is necessary, in order not to lose time.

After the consultation body has made the decision, the process is further carried out by new teams of doctors – this time for transplantation of liver, kidney and heart. These teams are again made of 10-15 people each.

After the transplantation, the patients are treated by a group of doctors and medical technicians, in order to avoid rejection of organs.

Therefore, transplantation is not a simple procedure in either of its stages – about 100 people are needed for each of them who work every day for the benefit of patients who are in need of transplantation as their only cure.

In spite of the complexity of the overall process, it cannot be reduced only to necessary procedures. We are all only humans and we live through every moment that our patients are going through in that tough fight for their lives.

Each operation is for us as the first one, because each case is special and unique. We give even more than our best in case of the first but also in the last transplantation performed, because every life we are trying to save is equally important to us. Each successful operation brings even more faith in the functioning of the overall process and gives us strength to do the same over and over again.

Many people ask me whether it is hard and how it feels to save someone’s life. During every operation I feel incredible pressure and huge responsibility, because I think of the people who agreed at the undoubtedly the hardest point in their life, to donate the organs of their loved ones saving thus someone’s life. On the other hand, you have a person whose life literally depends on the successfulness of the operation performed by your team and yourself.

There are also the ones that ask – how can you move on after the surgery which failed? I can only say that if you fairly dedicate six years of study, then five years of specialization, then another two years of subspecialization, then mandatory professional development abroad, if you stay every night at the clinics, then you can find enough strenght within yourself to stand before the family of the deceased and say: “I am sorry, I have done everything I could, but it ended up badly.” And you can go home after that and continue with your life because you are aware that you have given your best.

And all the people who do not believe in donation, because they are guided by prejudice and wrong information, should only see and meet 49 people who have received new heart and new life in the past six years, the period that the Center for Transplantation of the Clinical Center of Serbia has been operating so far.

These are people who, apart from the health, have been given also a chance to wake up every morning next to their loved ones, to spend time with their children and grandchildren. They are work productive again and live healthy and happy life. One second spent with them shows the true value of organ donation humanity.
Svetozar Putnik, MD,