One of the most amazing and impactful medical advancements in the last century was the development of life-saving organ transplant techniques. Over 28,000 people in America receive much needed organ transplants every year to help save or improve their lives. However, as of August 2017, approximately 116,000 people in this county were actively waiting for a transplant.
As we wrote back in December of last year, the first successful kidney transplant couldn’t have occurred without the opportunity for the surgical team to first practice the surgery on a body donor. But body donors played a role in developing this treatment long before that first transplant took place. In fact, everything that early physicians and anatomist knew about how the human body functions was due to study of cadavers. Without this understanding of organ function, the very idea of an organ transplant probably would have never occurred to anyone.
Even to this day, whole body donors play a vital role in organ donation. New surgeons need to be trained on organ transplant procedures before they attempt it on a living recipient, and they often rely on body donors to be their “first patients”. So, even if you aren’t eligible to be an organ donor, there’s a chance you may still have a part to play in saving someone’s life through whole body donation.