Think about the last time you had to wait for something. Perhaps you were stuck in traffic, waiting to hear about a new job or looking forward to a vacation. You may have been a little impatient, anxious, or excited, but those emotions were short-lived—so was your wait.
Now imagine what it’s like to wait for a life-changing organ, eye or tissue donation. For the thousands of Americans on the national organ transplant waiting list, the wait can be excruciating. Every 10 minutes, another name is added to the list.
Nearly all Americans are aware of the benefits of organ donation, but less than half of them are registered organ donors. Why are so many people reluctant to donate?
Two of the main reasons are:
- Concern that the medical professionals who care for registered organ donors won’t save their lives.
- A person’s religion prohibits organ donation.
These concerns are simply not true.
The Facts about Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation
Myth: If doctors know I am an organ donor, they won’t do everything they can to save my life.
Fact: Physicians, nurses and paramedics do everything they can to save a person’s life. A person’s organs cannot be donated until they are in a hospital, on a ventilator and declared brain-dead. The person’s family must give permission for organ donation.
Fact: All major religions in the United States support organ and tissue donation and consider it an act of charity.
Myth: I am too old to be a donor.
Fact: Health care professionals evaluate the condition of organs at the time of a person’s death. Age is not a factor.
Myth: My health is poor. Nobody would want my organs or tissues.
Fact: Few medical conditions automatically disqualify you for organ or tissue donation. At the time of death, medical professionals determine whether or not a person’s organs or tissues are suitable for donation.
Myth: My family will have to pay for the cost of the organ donation.
Fact: Organ and tissue donation costs are not the responsibility of the donor or the family.
Myth: Organ and tissue donation will disfigure my body. My family will not be able to have an open casket for my funeral.
Fact: Donated organs and tissues are surgically—and carefully – removed to maintain the integrity of the body for an open-casket funeral.
Wellness - Reluctant to Donate Your Organs? These Facts May Change Your Mind