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The Truth About Organ Donation: Debunking the Myths

Updated on April 5, 2021

Organ Donation Facts

Being an organ donor is a very personal decision. For some, it's an immediate signing of their organ donor card without hesitation; for others, it may be a feeling of uncertainty. Being an organ donor may be one of the biggest decisions you ever make.

The thought of death itself is a frightening subject for many. With donation, a piece of you will live on through someone else. You will give the ultimate gift. The gift of life.



I am a strong believer in organ donation. I've watched a family member await a life saving donation and I've been the patient.

I was lucky to receive both of my kidneys from living related donors. My older brother received his kidney from an amazing family who made the decision to donate their sons organs.

Sometimes we (as a whole) forget to stop and smell the roses. Being brought back from the brink of death changes you. You are finally able to live again and appreciate the beauty surrounding you. Waking up knowing life can only get better, gives you a new lease on life.

Unfortunately, there are many myths surrounding organ donation which may hinder ones decision to donate.

Photo Credit: donatelife.net

Important Statistics - These numbers change on a daily basis

Organ Donor Awareness
Organ Donor Awareness

Image: TinyCherub


112,706 are currently waiting for the gift of life, including children.


23,747 transplants were performed in 2011.


90,564 people are awaiting a blood cleansing kidney.


16,067 people are waiting for a new liver.


3,113 people are waiting to hear the beat of their new heart.


1,677 are waiting to take a breath of fresh air with new lungs.


18 people die each day while waiting for the gift of life.



Being an Organ Donor Means

You have the power to save up to 8 lives with your organs alone.

emergency doctor
emergency doctor

If I'm an organ donor, the hospital staff will allow me to die without trying to save my life.

Myth




Fact

Doctors and nurses will focus their attention on saving your life not someone else's. Your doctor will be trained in the area of your illness or trauma. They will work diligently to assure everything possible has been done to save your life.

Hospital staff members do not have access the donor registry which means they won't know your status.

Procurement happens only after all life saving efforts have been exhausted and brain death has been declared.

Image



Surgery
Surgery

My body will be destroyed during organ removal.

Myth




Fact

Donated organs are surgically removed with precision and care. Donating will not change the appearance of your body.

Should you have an open casket, no one will see visible signs of organ or tissue donation. If bone was donated, a rod is placed where bone once was. Skin donation is replaced with a thin layer of skin from the back.

Image



Thank You Letter
Thank You Letter

The recipient's family will be given my identity and contact my loved ones.

Myth




Fact

Your information will never be released without consent.

The recipient may write a letter to your family but they will not have access to their names or addresses. Instead the letter is forwarded from the transplant center. It's up to the family to accept or decline the letter. Communication is carefully screened by the organ procurement organization.

Should your family accept the letter, they are not obligated to respond.

Image



Piggy Bank
Piggy Bank

My family will have to pay for removal surgeries.

Myth




Fact

Your family will not be charged for donating your organs.

All costs associated with the removal of donated organs is the responsibility of the transplant recipient.

Your family will still be responsible for any treatment cost before your life ended.

Image



Talk to your Family About Being an Organ Donor

After you've signed your organ donor card, let your family know of your wishes. They will have to sign a consent form in order to donate.

I'm too old to be a donor.

Myth




Fact

There is no age limit on who can donate their organs.

Organs have been transplanted from donors in their 80's. The decision to use your organs is based on meticulous medical criteria and exams, not your age.

It's best to let the doctors decide whether your organs and tissues are suitable for transplantation once you've passed away.


Image



Donation

Have a Heart
Have a Heart

Have you registered to be a donor?

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