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Are you an Organ Donor?

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Are you an Organ Donor?

I am sure that not too many of you are aware that April is Organ Donation Awareness Month.  I know, every month seems to have some sort of awareness for ever single affliction that has ever happened to anyone, like Hangnail Awareness month, etc.  BUT Organ Donation is very near and dear to my heart as I have worked with transplant donor and recipient populations my entire nursing career.  And to see the way that some of these people live, waiting for organs every single day, never leaving the area in case they get a call, to come back to the hospital, to get an organ that will completely transform their lives; they live in a constant fear of death from their current organ failure, stress from the effects of their disease and treatment, but also holding out hope for the call that will save their lives.  I couldn't imagine living that way, and basing my hope on the generosity of others.


Currently (2011) in the US almost 111,000 people are on the organ transplant waiting list and every single day 20 of them will die while waiting for an organ.  Did you know that ONE person who donates can save up to EIGHT peoples lives??  Talk about the ultimate act of generosity, giving your organs (which you don't need anymore because you are clinically dead) to someone else and allowing them to live on, with your help.  Currently there are around 86 million donors in the US, but we need more, because so many people don't donate based on myths.  I want to shed some light on the myths surrounding treatment and let you know that you can still fulfill all of your wishes for post life and still help save so many others.

Some Common Myths?
"If I come into the Emergency Room and they see on my license that I am an Organ Donor they won't try to save me"
     -This is complete malarky!  We treat EVERY person who comes into the hospital and organ donation has nothing to do with it; our priority is to SAVE your life!

"My religion doesn't support organ donation"
     -Most major religions in the US support organ donation; they actually see is as the final act of love and generosity on this earth.

"I don't think I'm eligible"
    -Everyone is eligible to be an organ donor, and if your solid organs (kidney, liver, pancreas, heart, lungs) are unable to be harvested, you may be a great tissue donor (corneas, skin, etc)

"I won't be able to have an open casket at my funeral"
     -Open casket funerals are always an option and people wouldn't know you/your loved one was a donor unless you tell them.

"I can't afford the medical bills to donate"
     -Donation costs NOTHING to you/your family, it is all paid for by the organ donation organization.

"I might wake up from a coma and then my organs are gone!"
     -Brain death is very different from a coma,and as very strict criteria (state and hospital based) and organs are harvested after brain death, not from comas.

"My organs might be taken and sold"
     -It is completely illegal in the US (and most countries) to sell and buy organs on the black market, and we fully prosecute federally in the US and have fines and prison times when convicted.

Are you still unsure?
Get more information about organ donation and find out ow you can help.  Most likely you know someone who needs an organ or who WILL need an organ.

What can I do NOW?
Go online and register, click on your state and get registered!!  Next time you go to get a new license MAKE SURE they give you that little red heart on your license to show that you are a donor, and that you are willing to partake in one of the most SELFLESS acts that can help bring so much happiness, joy, and years of life to another, when your time is done.  Once you make your decision, urge your children and loved ones to make the same generous choice that you do...one horrible tragedy can give so many others a new lease on life!

If you don't act now, and have more questions, feel free to email me, or check out www.organdonor.gov and please just think it over!  You could help to save SO many others lives!

And, after reading this, answer me this question: What are your reasons for NOT donating??

Yours in Good Health
B

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