Debunking the Myths Surrounding Organ Donation

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Donating an organ can save a life but not many do so due to some preconceived notions about the process. About 100,000 people each year in the United States are on a waiting list for an organ such as a Kidney, liver, heart, lung, bone marrow, corneas and more. Almost 10,000 people on this list die each year and some of these deaths could have been avoided with more people consenting to donate the organs of a loved one who has just died.

There are a number of myths surrounding organ donation and many are not valid. However, with a bit more education, you can courageously make the right decision regarding organ donation which is right for you and your family.

1. Old age and poor health do not always preclude someone from donating an organ. Some people who donate an organ upon death were senior citizens . If you are willing to donate your organs upon death, and you die in old age, only the viability of your organs in relation to donation will be discerned.

2. Some people believe that there may be discrimination with regards to who gets donated organs. The fact of the matter is that there is a national organ donation list, and it is based entirely on need. No one knows the race or age of the person necessarily who is waiting for an organ donation . Instead, compatibility and length of time on the waiting list are two of the top factors that play in making a wise determination of who gets the available organ.

3. There is never a charge to the family of the organ donor. The costs related to removing organs for donations as well as the transportation of them are transferred to the patients awaiting the transplant. Only those services used in conjunction to trying to save the donor’s life should show up on any medical bills.

4. There is the belief that a family may not have a proper burial with an open casket funeral when a loved one donates an organ upon death. The fact of the matter is that unless you choose to have the loved one naked with no cosmetic touch-ups before a
funeral viewing, no one will know that they gave life through organ donation.

5. Some people believe that if they consent to donating their organs upon death that medical personnel may not work as hard to save them. This is totally untrue. The main goal of doctors is saving lives, mainly yours. There are no transplantation specialists hovering in the wings ghoulishly waiting for you or someone else to die. Only after there is absolutely no hope for you is organ donation brought up.

If you want to donate your organs, one of the first things you should do is obtain a donor card when renewing your driver’s license. Your wishes can even be put on your driver’s license itself. However, this alone is not enough. You must communicate your wishes to your doctor as well as loved ones closest to you who would likely carry out your wishes and instructions upon death. If you have a living will, be sure to mention organ donation in it as well.

Donating your body organs will not only save many lives but also perpetuate your life as well. You would literally be a legacy that lives on in others.

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