There is often a social stigma surrounding organ donation. The DMV and other organizations promote the importance of donating your organs. It seems so simple to complete the short form and have the pink dot put on your driver’s license, why wouldn’t everyone do it? But is the decision really so easy? For many, they have seen a loved one receive a miracle and get the organ that saved their lives. For others, it is a brush decision because the reality is; they won’t need their organs when they have passed. While still too often there are myths that hinder people from donating and saving lives. We often hear clients say, “I’m too old”, “I am sick”, “Why would anyone want my used organs?” so I have compiled a list of common misconceptions about organ donation:
- Myth: If I agree to donate my organs, the hospital staff will not work as hard to save me.
Fact: When taken to the hospital for treatment, the doctors and staff are concerned with saving your life, not of saving others. The specialists that treat you have nothing to do with organ transplantation.
- Myth: Maybe I won’t really be dead when the hospital signs my death certificate.
Fact: Unlike what is perceived on television, doctors perform more tests on individuals who have elected to donate rather than not, at no cost to the donor or their family, in order to determine that they are dead.
- Myth: Organ donation is against my religion.
Fact: Organ donation is consistent with most religions including Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam and most branches of Judaism. For more information, you should contact a member of your clergy or review the federal website, OrganDornor.gov for transplantation information by religious denomination.
- Myth: I’m a minor under age 18. I’m too young to make a decision about donation.
Fact: While legally a minor cannot make this decision, a minor can inform their parents of their wish and the parent can make the decision if necessary. A child who needs an organ, most likely needs a smaller organ which an adult donor cannot provide.
- Myth: I’m too old to donate my organs. Nobody would want them.
Fact: Whether an organ can be used for transplantation is dependent on strict medical criteria, not age. There have been successful transplants from donors in their 70s and 80s. Don’t automatically disqualify yourself based on age. Let doctors decide whether your organs are suitable for transplantation.
- Myth: I don’t have the best health. No one would want my organs.
Fact: Very few medical conditions automatically disqualify a donor. The decision of whether an organ can be donated depends on strict medical criteria. It is possible that one organ is not suitable for successful transplantation where other organs and tissue may be fine. Let medical professionals decide if your organs are suitable for transplant.
With over 100,000 people waiting for an organ donation in the United States, it is necessary for individuals to make informed choices. Saving someone’s life isn’t always in the hands of doctors but rather in the hands of the community.
For more information, see the origional article.