The number of patients on the waiting list for organ donation is increasing. It can be hard to think about what’s going to happen to your body after you die, let alone donating your organs and tissues. However, being an organ donor is a generous and worthwhile decision that can be a lifesaver. If you’ve never considered organ donation or delayed becoming a donor because of possibly inaccurate information, FYI compiled a list of Facts and Myths
For Your Information.
MYTH:“I heard about this guy who went to a party, and woke up the next morning in a bathtub full of ice. His kidneys were stolen for sale on the black market!”
FACT: “This tale has been widely circulated over the Internet. There is absolutely no evidence of such activity ever occurring in the U.S. While the tale may sound credible, it has not basis in the reality of organ transplantation. Many people who hear the myth probably dismiss it, but it is possible that some believe it and decide against organ donation out of needless fear.
MYTH:“Rich and famous people get moved to the top of the waiting list, while ‘regular’ people have to wait a long time for a transplant.”
FACT: The organ allocation and distribution system is blind to name, celebrity or social status, or wealth. “When you are on the transplant waiting list for a donor organ, what really counts is the severity of your illness, time spent waiting, blood type, and other important medical information.” Reference: Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network at www.optn.org/about/myths. While many cases of celebrities receiving transplants are reported by the media, celebrities have to wait in line just like everyone else. It is often forgotten that some celebrities have died waiting in line for a transplant. NFL star Walter Payton, for example, died awaiting a liver transplant.
MYTH: If I agree to donate my organs, the hospital staff won’t work as hard to save my life.
FACT: When you go to the hospital for treatment, doctors focus on saving your life — not somebody else’s. You’ll be seen by a doctor whose specialty most closely matches your particular emergency.
MYTH: Maybe I won’t really be dead when they sign my death certificate.
FACT: Although it’s a popular topic in the tabloids, in reality, people don’t start to wiggle their toes after they’re declared dead. In Fact, people who have agreed to organ donation are given more tests (at no charge to their families) to determine that they’re truly dead than are those who haven’t agreed to organ donation.
MYTH: Organ donation is against my religion.
FACT: Organ donation is consistent with the beliefs of most major religions. This includes Roman Catholicism, Islam, most branches of Judaism and most Protestant faiths. If you’re unsure of or uncomfortable with your faith’s position on donation, ask a member of your clergy.
MYTH: I’m under age 18. I’m too young to make this decision.
FACT: That’s true, in a legal sense. But your parents can authorize this decision. You can express to your parents your wish to donate, and your parents can give their consent knowing that it’s what you wanted. Children, too, are in need of organ transplants, and they usually need organs smaller than those an adult can provide.
MYTH: I’m too old to donate. Nobody would want my organs.
FACT: There’s no defined cutoff age for donating organs. The decision to use your organs is based on strict medical criteria, not age. Don’t disqualify yourself prematurely. Let the doctors decide at your time of death whether your organs and tissues are suitable for transplantation.