At least one person dies every day because of organ failure or another organ related problem. On average, more than 120,000 Americans are waiting for organ transplant.
The number could run into millions if global statistics are anything to go by. Why is this happening? Why are people reluctant to donate their organs after they die to save the life of another person?
There are no easy answers to these questions. However, researchers in some of the most reputable institutions have tried to explain this phenomenon. They blame the following as the reasons why most people do not register as organ donors:
1. Mistrust Of The Medical profession and doctors
Most people who are reluctant to donate their organs after dying say they do not trust doctors and the medical profession in general. According to them, a doctor could easily mishandle, abuse or neglect them if he or she knows they are donors. In other words, the medics would not do all they can to save the lives of their patients who are registered donors.
2. Confusion About Brain Death/Biological Death
According to medics, brain death is the irreversible brain damage ending independent respiration (which indicates death). The definition is complex for families and nonspecialists. Such death means the other organs may be functioning normally and therefore such a person is not actually dead. This confusion has caused serious legal battles and the confusion does not seem to end soon. People claim that doctors are not exactly sure they are dead. For this reason, most people do not think their organs should be removed if they are brain dead.
3. Uncertainty And Lack Of Confidence
Some people lack the confidence to register as donors. Furthermore, they are not confident their organs are good enough to be used on someone else. This uncertainty and lack of confidence come from the fact that many people feel sick inside or they are not exactly sure their organs are functioning well. Therefore, they take the comfort of not registering because they convince they are too sick to donate any organs, as such organs would not be useful. However, doctors usually conduct thorough tests before using any organ donated. Besides, some organs may be useful even if others have a disease.
4. Psychological Discomfort
Research has found out that many more people refuse to register for organ donation because they are psychologically uncomfortable with talking about death as well as other intimate medical procedures. When asked, they simply say they cannot sustain the disgust they have with the idea of organ donation and procurement. To them, organ donation is a taboo and unethical idea that should not even be discussed with family and the medical profession.
5. Confusion With Religion And Cultural Issues
Some religious people do not subscribe to the idea of organ transplant. For instance, many Jehovah’s Witnesses do not subscribe to blood transfusion and erroneously include organ transplantation in the equation. JW’s position on blood transfusion stands, but the church accepts organ transplant as long as all the blood in such organ is drained before transplant. Certain individuals do not understand this and remain opposed to organ donation. Furthermore, cultures around the world also prohibit mutilation of the body after death.
6. No Readiness To Condone Poor Habit
Some qualified donors believe most organ recipients had their organs damaged due to poor lifestyles such as excess alcoholism or drug abuse. They claim they are not ready to condone bad habit because they would not change even if they received a new organ. This is erroneous because only 5 percent of those awaiting organ transplants have damaged their organs due to drug abuse. Besides, such people are usually taken through sober sessions and behavior change before they can receive new organs.
Register As An Organ Donor
Organ donation is a show and practice of brotherly love. All the above-mentioned reasons are myths and misunderstandings. Did you know that a single donor could actually save up to 50 people? Instead of having your organs wasted, you could register and help someone connect to his family, achieve their lifelong dreams or serve the broader humanity. You never know, but even you are not an Island, you could benefit from another person’s organ is you needed a transplant. Anyone can register as long as you are an adult.