Top Ten Things You Should Know about Organ Donation

NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–April 10, 2012 — Every year, more than 100,000 Americans will need a life-saving organ transplant, yet in 2011 fewer than 22,000 transplants took place in the United States. In New York only 18 percent of New Yorkers who are eligible to donate are registered as organ donors, in stark contrast to the national average of 42 percent.

Even though there have been amazing advances in life saving organ transplant the transplant waiting lists continue to grow at a rapid rate –a new patient is added every 11 minutes.

April is National Donate Life Month and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is teaming up with the New York Organ Donor Network to educate New Yorkers and others about how simple it can be to save someone’s life.

One organ donor can save up to eight lives and improve the lives of up to 50 people by donating tissues however, misconceptions often stop people from registering to become an organ donor. Here are the top ten facts that you may not know about organ and tissue donation:

  • FACT: Most major religions publicly endorse organ donation as the highest gesture of humanitarianism, including Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam and most branches of Judaism. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with your faith’s position on donation, talk to a member of your clergy.
  • FACT: There are very few medical conditions that would automatically disqualify you from donating any organs and tissues so don’t disqualify yourself. It may turn out that while certain organs are not suitable for transplant, other organs and tissues are fine.
  • FACT: Family members are never held responsible for any costs related to donation.
  • FACT: Although it is important to join a donor registry and indicate that you are an organ donor on your driver’s license, it is equally important to speak with your family, friends, and doctors about your decision, so that they are aware of your wishes.
  • FACT: Your medical history is more important than your age. Organs have been transplanted from donors in their 70s and 80s and even 92-year-olds have donated their livers in the United States.
  • FACT: Potential organ donors are usually admitted to the hospital after illness or an accident, and have usually experienced a brain aneurysm, stroke, or severe head trauma. The team of medical professionals caring for the patient does everything possible to save the patient’s life, and have nothing to do with transplantation.
  • FACT: Although you must be 18 years of age to sign up on the New York State Donate Life Registry, parents or guardians can authorize this decision for their children who would like to register.
  • FACT: The organ transplant waiting list is blind to wealth and celebrity status. People receive organs based on the severity of the illness, time spent on the waiting list, and blood type.
  • FACT: Donating an organ will in no way delay funeral arrangements or change any funeral plans. Open casket viewing is possible after any type of donation.
  • FACT: It is possible to donate to someone who is not a relative and even to someone from another racial or ethnic group. However transplant success rates do increase when organs are matched between members of the same ethnic background. A lack of organ donation among ethnic populations can lead to longer wait times for individuals within that ethnic group.

It is also important to remember that it is also possible to donate certain organs or part of organs (such as a kidney, or part of your liver) while you are living. Living donors improve the lives of the recipients of their organs every day, and represent a very important group of organ donors. For more information about organ donation, please visit www.organdonor.gov. To learn more about living donation, please visit www.kidney.org/transplantation/livingdonors/index.cfm.

Source: weill.cornell.edu