Across Vietnam, taboos associated with organ donation are slowly changing, and hundreds of people are making the decision to donate their body to science after death so that others may live.
It wasn’t until the 1950s, when the first human kidney was successfully transplanted, that the idea of organ donation began to gain traction with the people outside of the medical community.
Since then, people around the globe have been donating vital organs with the hope of saving others.
Pham Thi Hoa, a 66-year-old stroke survivor from Ho Chi Minh City, made the decision to donate her organs to science after acknowledging the struggle against sever illness faced by Vietnamese living in remote areas.
Hoa also succeeded in convincing four of her family members to make the same decision, including her eldest son, who completed all the necessary paperwork to register as an organ donor in 2015 at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.
According to Hoa, her children not only want to donate their organs, but also the rest of their bodies for science teaching and research.
|An image of Pham Thi Hoa’s daily life in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Dieu Nhi / Tuoi Tre|
Hoa added that her son Giang Thanh Hai has even volunteered to donate blood donation more than 20 times.
“I’m really happy that my children respect my decision and have followed in my footsteps,” Hoa said.
There are over 300 families included in the 10,000 individuals enrolled as organ donors at Cho Ray Hospital, one of whom is Ho Thi Kieu Nga and her sisters from Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang.
The sisters all say they had thought about organ donation before but only took it seriously when one of their siblings, Ho Tuan Hai, passed away from an accident due to severe organ infection.
“At that moment, we realized how important it is to donate what we have,” Nga shared, unable to hide the regret she feels about not being able to save her brother.
Sixty-one-year-old Tran Thi Mai Tuyet, a retired high school teacher from central Vietnam, and her daughter, Tran Thuan Ban Mai, have also signed up to donate their entire bodies to science after death.
Tuyet also expressed her respect for a decision recently made by a local family to donate the organs of their seven-year-old daughter, Hai An, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
“I put myself in their shoes to truly understand the value of life and making the right decision,” she said.
Nguyen Minh Phung, whose husband passed away after a 16-year fight against heart disease, said that the right organ donated at the right time could have saved his life.
“I decided to donate my organs because I think there are many people out there who need it, just like my husband did,” she said.
Du Thi Ngoc Thu, the head manager of organ donation department at Cho Ray Hospital, said that they have taken organs from 31 donors over the past five years and sent the 90 donated organs to other hospitals in Vietnamese metropolises of Hanoi, Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City.