Have A Heart: The Facts, Statistics, and Benefits of Organ Donation
You’ve made it through the long lines of the DMV, and you’re finally finishing up the process of getting a new or updated drivers’ license. You’re almost done, but then you’re asked a question that makes you pause.
Would you like to be an organ donor?
Have you been in this situation? Like many other people, the idea of organ donation might have left you feeling unsettled. After all, when you’re healthy and responsible, death is the last thing anyone wants to consider.
But consider these statistics, too:
- Currently, there are more than 123,000 people waiting for a vital organ transplant
- One organ donor has the potential to save up to eight lives, while a tissue donation can positively affect 50 people
- On average, 21 people, including children, die every day while waiting for an organ transplant
When a person requires an organ transplant, it is usually because they are terminally ill. Without a transplant, they will likely die. They may have a serious kidney or lung disease, or even require a new heart. Other body parts can be donated, too. A tissue donation, which includes skin, tendons, bones, and parts of the eye, not only save lives, but also increases mobility, vision, and quality of life.
Along with the chance to save a life, organ donations offers other benefits.
- When a person is killed unexpectedly, like in a car accident, organ donation helps their family cope with the tragedy. It may give them the sense that something positive came out of the loss.
- Donations provide opportunities for medical research
- Living donations, which occur when a donor is still alive, can help a family member who is suffering from an illness or injury
Intrigued? Here’s what you need to know.
Organ Donation Facts
- Anyone, from newborns to the elderly, can be an organ donor. Anyone over the age of 18 can consent to organ donation, while minors need to have their parent or guardian consent for them.
- Medical conditions do not automatically disqualify a donor. HIV, active cancer, and some systematic infections may prevent organ donation, but otherwise, a medical issue is unlikely to rule someone out!
- Donation does not affect the medical care you receive. A medical team will make every possible attempt to save your life, regardless of your decision to donate after death.
- Organ donation does not affect open-casket funerals. After death, careful surgical techniques are used to remove organs and tissues. It will not disfigure the body.
- A family does not have to pay for the cost of organ or tissue removal from the deceased. They will have to pay for medical expenses and funeral costs, but there is no charge for the process of organ removal.
- Most major religions support organ donation.
Registering for organ donation is incredibly easy. As seen in the above scenario, it is done through the DMV when receiving or updated a license. Check “yes” and that’s it! The idea may be disconcerting at first, but in the end, it saves lives and provides a sense of purpose after death.
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