Singaporeans mourned the tragic demise of mum Or Cheng Khim when she met with an accident in Jurong earlier this year. But this late good samaritan still managed to save the lives of other Singaporeans.
How This Singapore Mum Saved So Many Lives
The victim died in a tragic lorry incident as she was on her way to celebrate her son’s exam success. | Screengrab: Mustsharenews
On that fateful day the proud and happy mother had gone out to buy sushi, her son’s favourite food, to celebrate his achievement.
Her son had just qualified for O-level examinations. Unfortunately, she never made it home for the celebrations. She was critically injured after she was hit by a lorry in Jurong–a short distance away from her home.
The CT scans showed severe brain swelling, and she, succumbed to her injuries two days later. Many mourned the loss of the beautiful soul, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife.
But it seems like her memories can now be kept alive, thanks to the generosity of her family.
Organ Donation Saves Lives: 5 People Get a Chance to Live Again
Ms Or’s sisters recently informed Shin Min Daily News that her organs have been donated and they have helped five people get another shot at life.
While her kidneys have helped a 27-year-old man and a 47-year-old woman.
Her liver was given to a 42-year-old mother. Similarly, her cornea was gifted to a 21-year-old and an 82-year-old.
While the family is still grieving her untimely loss, they take consolation in knowing that she has helped others carry on with many more years of their lives.
Speaking about organ donation, her son Song Chang had earlier said, “This is something that we knew my mother would have wanted. She was a generous person who liked to help others.”
While the pain of losing your loved ones is unbearable, the thought that they are alive through others can be heartwarming for some good samaritans. Many people are at a stage in their lives where they can be saved by an organ donation.
Organ Donation Laws In Singapore: What You Need To Know
HOTA and MTERA are the two legal ways in which you can transplant organs in Singapore. | Image courtesy: Pixabay
In Singapore, there is a long waiting list of patients for transplantable organs, especially kidneys. The Human Organ Transplant Act, introduced in 1987, is an opt-out scheme that gives consent for the removal of certain organs for transplantation upon death.
However, in spite of this legislation, the number of deceased organ donors in Singapore, at 7 to 9 per million population per year, remains low as compared to many other developed countries.
Taking forward the thought that organ donation saves lives, here are two ways in which you can donate your organs legally in Singapore.
1. HOTA: The Human Organ Transplant Act
It is a mandatory enrolment scheme allowing the harvesting of specified organs after death. In case you didn’t know, HOTA applies to all Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents aged 21 years old and above, regardless of religion.
This scheme also applies to those below the age of 21, as long as they have the consent of removal from their parent or guardian.
The HOTA scheme allows for specified organs (the kidneys, liver, heart and corneas) of a person to be removed upon their death in a hospital, for the purpose of transplantation, unless the deceased person had earlier opted out of HOTA.
Yes, you also have the option to opt out of HOTA.
You can register an objection with the Director of Medical Services using the HOTA Opt-Out Form. This form will allow you to indicate your objection to the removal of some or all of the specified organs.
The completed form should be sent to the National Organ Transplant Unit. An acknowledgement of this objection will then be sent to you.
Remember that if one decides to opt-out of HOTA, he or she will be given low priority in the waiting list for organ donation.
But in a situation, if he chooses to opt back into HOTA, the person will get the same priority as a person who has not registered any such objections after a period of two years from the date on which the Director of Medical Services has received his withdrawal.
This is if he does not register another objection during the 2-year period.
MTERA: Medical Therapy Education and Research Act
This scheme allows a donor to donate his organs or tissues to be used for transplant, education or research purposes after his death.
You can pledge your organs by completing the Organ Donation Pledge Form and sending it to the National Organ Transplant Unit.
Here’s the difference in the requirement for HOTA & MTERA.
21 years old and above
18 years and above
The adult next-of-kin can also pledge the organs of deceased patients of any age for donation.
All organs and tissues including skin and bone.
Transplant and treatment
Singapore Citizens and PRs
Any religion (Muslims were included under HOTA from 1 August 2008)
Any religion (For Muslims, MUIS has issued fatwas stating that the donation of kidney, liver, heart and cornea is permissible.)
People who meet the above criteria will be automatically included under HOTA unless they register their objection.
People need to opt in and pledge their organs/tissues for donation under this scheme.
Table courtesy: Ministry of Health, Singapore
Living Donor Organ Transplant
Organ transplants from a donor, while the person is living, is generally not allowed, unless the following requirements under section 15A of the HOTA are fulfilled.
In case of such donations, only the kidney or any part of the liver is allowed to be donated. Before going through donation, the potential living donors will have to attend mandatory counselling sessions. They are conducted by the Ministry of Health to understand the risks involved in organ donation.
While the laws are at their place, a good samaritan’s generosity can also save many lives, just as this Singaporean mum with hers.