Right now in the United States, one of the most powerful nations in the world, there is a critical organ donor shortage. According to organdonor.gov, there are 117,000+ people on the organ transplant waiting list.
These men, women, and children have end-stage organ failure and cannot live without a transplant. There are even more people waiting for a quality of life donations.It is estimated that an average of 22 people on the donor waiting list dies per day.
Why Is There Such A Crisis in Organ Donation Today?
Advancements in organ transplant procedures have created a longer than ever list of waiting recipients who desperately need help. An incredible 95% of Americans support organ donation and yet only around half of those who are eligible register as donors. Since only 3 out of every 1,000 people will die in a way that is suitable for organ donation, it’s imperative that everyone that supports organ donation is registered and makes their intentions to donate known.
Myths About Organ Donation
There are many reasons people choose not to become organ donors, a lot has to do with simply not realizing there is a need to do so, but there are also several myths associated with organ donation that people might mistakenly believe in.
Myth #1: I don’t have to register to become an organ donor.
Many people think that organ donation is a given, especially if they have checked a box on the back of their driver’s license. In reality, if you were to die suddenly and your intentions were not clear, your family will have to make the difficult choice on their own. Registering as an organ donor is easy. Register online in your state. You can start by going to www.organdonor.gov and selecting your state. You will then be directed to your state’s organ donor registration page. You can additionally check a box and sign your name on the back of your driver’s license in many states. One final step, make sure your immediate family and close friends know that you wish to be an organ donor. They will be able to help make sure your wishes are carried out if possible
Myth #2: My religion will not allow me to become an organ donor.
Many religions are supportive of organ donation and you might be surprised to find out that your religion would accept and support such a decision. Catholics, Protestants, Islam and most branches of Judaism all support organ transplants, just to name a few.
Myth #3: I’m too young to think about dying.
Most of the types of death that lead to viable organs being donated are unexpected accidents which could happen to anyone at any age. Don’t put off making this extremely important and personal decision or the choice may have to be made by your grieving family members in a time of crisis.
Myth #4: I’m too old (or sick) to think about donating.
Surprisingly, there is no person that is too young or too old to donate. Even many diseases and medical conditions would not exclude you from donating some or all of your organs.
Myth #5: You cannot have an open casket funeral after organ donation.
The organ donation process is really no different than performing an autopsy and once the deceased is fully clothed an open casket funeral is certainly possible. At all times the body will be treated with honor and respect as harvesting organs is done by medical professionals and organ donation is seen as a generous and precious gift.
A Few Wonderful Reasons To Become An Organ Donor
Choosing to become an organ donor is an amazing gift. One donor can save 8 lives with the following vital organs:
- Lungs (2)
- Kidneys (2)
The same donor can help up to 50 other patients improve the quality of their life with transplants of eyes, skin, tendons, and ligaments. Talk about leaving a legacy behind! Knowing that there is a chance you can do so much good for so many people can help you feel at peace with the sad reality of death. It can also be a comfort to grieving family and friends. This generous gift costs you nothing, and can positively impact so many lives.
Once you have registered to become an organ donor and have made your intentions known to your close family and friends, there is still one more thing you can do to support organ and tissue transplants. You can help by sharing the information in this article on social media, to help educate everyone you know about the powerful benefits of organ donation. You can also volunteer as an educator with your state’s local transplant organization.