14 February 2007
NHM Health Focus: National Donor Day
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 to recipients.
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
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. While Dr. Drew is best remembered for his pioneering blood research, he also made other important contributions to society.
Interactive Web pages with online activities related to donation health and science include:
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum resources related to organ, tissue and blood donation include: