February 14, National Donor
Day, honors those who have donated organs, tissues, marrow and blood
to save the lives of others. It also honors the families of donors who
have made the decision to allow organs of loved ones to give new life
Donated tissues and organs are often transported thousands of miles
for transplantation. The allowed time between the harvesting of an organ
and the recipient's surgical procedure varies. While a heart or lung
may last no more than 5 hours, a properly treated kidney can last up
to 72 hours. Skin, bone and heart valves may be preserved for five years
Donated blood may be divided
into components to better serve the transfusion needs of multiple
patients and for appropriate storage. Red blood cells must be used within
42 days, platelets within 5 days, and plasma within a year.
The history of organ and blood donation offers many interesting stories.
For example, preservation of blood plasma for later transfusion is a
tribute to the legacy of Dr.
Charles Drew. Dr. Drew is remembered for his pioneering
research and other important contributions to society.
Interactive Web pages with online activities related to donation health and science include:
Student Activities a multifaceted set of materialsprint, video,
CD-ROM, and web-baseddesigned to help public and private educators
integrate the topic of organ and tissue donation into existing curriculum
and training programs. (HHS)
Types Tutorial includes explanation, tutorial, and interactive
problem sets (with answers) related to the inheritance of blood types.
and More seven interactive games that teach facts about
blood donations. (American Red Cross)
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum resources related to organ, tissue and blood donation include: