12 Important Facts About Organ Donation

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Organ donation is a fact in the world. Organ donation can mean a life or death situation for many people. Each one of us is able to help, and most likely would if they understood the facts about donating their organs. Now, there is a shortage of organs and the list of people waiting to receive an organ has increased. Many die while on a waiting list, unnecessarily. The success rate of transplanting organs has dramatically increased over time.

1. Each day, at least 17 people will die while on the waiting list for a vital organ such as heart, kidney or liver.
2. There are 89,000 people currently waiting for an organ transplant.
3. Each month, the list grows by another 4,000 patients waiting for an important organ.
4. Thousands of people die yearly while waiting for donated organs.
5. Of all the people on the waiting lists, 10 percent are under the age of 18.
6. Many people who pass away each year do meet the requirements for donating organs, but there are less than half of those who consent to organ donation.
7. Almost all religions across the world approve of organ donation, and consider it the ultimate in contributions or charitable acts.
8. Bone Marrow transplants are common for patients with leukemia, and involves a procedure of marrow being removed from one person’s pelvic bone and given to a leukemia patient.
9. Corneal transplants have helped thousands of patients to receive improved eyesight and vision.
10. Kidney transplants can be harvested from living or deceased donors.
11. Every 12 minutes, another patient name is added to the waiting list for organs.
12. Recipients are chosen based on compatibility, medical need and location.

When a person passes away, their medical condition is evaluated at that time. It is then determined which organs would be viable for donation. Even those with chronic diseases or illnesses are encouraged to join the organ donation registry. One thing to keep in mind is that a patient’s regular physician is generally not the same physician that will determine which organs are viable or not. The worry for many patients is that their physician will not work as hard to save their lives, just so that organs will be available. This is not true. A physician’s oath and their main purpose is to save the patient’s life. They will do everything in their power to prevent a death.

The organ donation waiting list is not partial, nor does it play favorites to rich or prominent patients. Again, donations are given to patients based on medical need and compatibility, along with the patient’s location. The location is due to the viability of the organs, how long the organs would be beneficial before the organ itself is no longer useful. For instance, a recipient that lives thousands of miles away and that would take days to arrive is likely to be passed up for an organ if there is a patient closer that needs the same organ just as badly.

Many families decline donating loved ones organs in fear that they will be responsible for the costs of the organ removal. The deceased person’s family is only responsible for the medical costs of their loved one to the time of death and then funeral costs.

The facts are quite simple and yet, outstanding. One organ donor can help 50 people, and save the lives of 8 others. When this is reality, one wonders why there are not more registered donors. Donating organs or a portion of certain organs while living or deceased is the greatest gift one can give. When donating after death, this gives people a second chance at life, a quality life that they have possibly never known.

Losing a loved one is a time of pain and grieving that never goes away, however, helping others to have a life, a second chance, or the ability to see the world around them is the greatest gift one can give. Donating your loved ones organs after death can ease a tiny portion of the pain and give the knowledge that death actually gave life to another. Many families do take comfort in the fact that their loved one’s organs saved or helped improve the quality of life for another person.

Most people often wonder which organs would be taken after their death. Which organs can be harvested to save another human being?
1. The heart is able to save another that has heart failure.
2. The liver can be transplanted into a patient experiencing cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer or liver failure.
3. A kidney transplant will benefit one who has chronic end stage renal failure.
4. The lungs benefit recipient who have cystic fibrosis, COPD or emphysema.
5. The pancreas can greatly benefit a patient with insulin dependent Type 1 diabetes.
6. The intestines can help those with any life threatening intestinal disease.

Other donations can be made of the following:
1. The cornea can restore or improve vision for the blind.
2. The skin can benefit those with a skin disease, severe skin infections or wounds. Most often skin transplants benefit severe burn victims.
3. The heart valves will benefit those born with a heart defect, failing heart or infections of the heart.
4. The tendons can replace those in patients who had severe injuries to tendons or loss of muscle function.

Becoming a donor is really quite easy. Anyone can sign up as long as they are at least 18 years of age. For those younger than 18, who want to be donors, they should make that clear to their families. When a person goes to the License bureau to obtain a driver’s license, they will have the option of checking a box to be an organ donor. Another option for people to sign up as organ donor is to go to the Donor Registry Enrollment Form that can be found online. Each state has a website for donor registration. This should be printed out, filled in and mailed to the address on the form.

Organ donation is a gift for those who could pass without those organs. It is an opportunity to give life to those who do not have the quality of life that most people enjoy. It is the right thing to do and can benefit and help so many. Next time you wonder what you can do for others, sign the card. Become a donor and give life to those who also deserve it.