from BZ / dpa
A small card behind which there is a big decision: in the organ donor card we can record what should happen to our body after death. Important questions and answers.
Do I want to donate my organs after death? This question can cause a sinking feeling in your stomach. Because no one likes to deal with their own death.
However, it’s worth deciding whether to donate an organ – even if it’s just to take care of your loved ones.
Because it comforts relatives to know the will of the deceased, according to the German Foundation for Organ Transplantation (DSO).
Five questions and answers about the mini card:
Where can I get an organ donation card?
If you are already at the doctor’s office or at the pharmacy, you can ask for an ID there. You can also order it free of charge from the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) at organspende-info.de.
If you don’t attach much importance to a static card, you can simply download the organ donation card there as a PDF document to print. By the way: According to the BZgA, it is theoretically enough even to informally record your desires for organ donation on a piece of paper.
Anyone who now comes to the idea of attaching their decision to donate their organs to their will should leave it alone. Because if the will is opened after death, it is too late to remove the organ, according to the BZgA.
And what do I do wrong when filling it out so that the ID card becomes invalid in the end?
“If the information contradicts itself or the will of the deceased person is not clear, the organ donor card is invalid,” says Professor Martin Dietrich, acting director of the BZgA. “In this case, there is no organ donation.”
So you have to select only one option in the organ donor card. The signature should not be missing either – this only makes the ID legally valid. The best way to fill out an ID is to put it in your wallet so that you can carry it with you daily.
If I have two conflicting organ donation cards – what then applies in an emergency?
Losing the first ID card, filling out a second card – it can happen. But: What applies if two post-mortem organ donation cards say different things?
“The most recent decision is documented, so the organ donation card with the youngest date is valid,” says Martin Dietrich. If you want to be sure, destroy the old card as soon as you get a new ID.
By the way: Because your decision is only documented in your organ donor card, you can change your mind at any time – without having to report it.
According to the Federal Ministry of Health, the central registry is still in operation and should be available by the end of 2022 at the earliest. But until then, no one is obligated to enter their decision there.
Do I have to carry my organ donation card with me on vacation?
Yes, BZgA advises. If you’re really well prepared, you can even take a different kind of holiday destination locale with you. The organ donation card is available in 29 languages for download as a PDF on the BzgA website.
Background: According to the BZgA, the laws regarding organ donation in the holiday country can be very different than in Germany. While you are in Germany, you can only be an organ donor if you agree, in France, Spain or Italy, for example, there is a solution to opt-out. There you are automatically a benefactor – unless you have actively objected.
In the event of a death abroad, the law of the respective country shall apply. According to the BZgA, this is completely independent of the nationality of the deceased person.
Even if you don’t want to donate your organs, you should have an organ donation card with you on vacation explaining your decision.
What diseases prevent me from becoming an organ donor?
There are only a few diseases that exclude organ donation across the board. Even a person with cancer can become an organ donor — at least when the disease is not severe.
“If the cancer does not recur within five years after completion of treatment, the cancer is no longer considered acute. In such a situation, organ and tissue donation is essentially possible again,” says Martin Dietrich.
For most diseases, doctors individually check after death whether organs are suitable for donation. In the field “Comments space / private information” you can note the diseases that you have – thus facilitating the work of the medical staff.
By the way: There is no age limit for organ donors. According to the German Transplant Foundation, the oldest organ donor in Germany was 98 years old. Her liver was transplanted successfully, according to the foundation.