Over 91,000 people in the United States are awaiting a lifesaving transplant, while hundreds of thousands of others could benefit from a life-enhancing tissue transplant. The reality is that 17 people die everyday in this country while waiting for an organ to become available.
Thankfully, one donor can save the lives of up to seven people through organ donation and help more than 50 people in need through tissue donation. Organs and tissue that can be donated include heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas, intestines, bone/soft tissue, corneas, skin and heart valves.
One simple fact is that you can save lives by making the decision to be an organ and tissue donor. Many factors can impact your decision about organ or tissue donation, including:
The most important part of deciding to be a donor is telling your family. Even if you signed a donor card or indicated your wish to donate on your driver's license, you need to tell your family because they are consulted before the donation can occur. There is no cost to your family for organ and tissue donation; however, funeral costs remain your family's responsibility. An open-casket funeral is possible for organ and tissue donors.
All major religions approve of organ and tissue donation and consider donation a great gift.
- Myth: If emergency doctors know you are an organ donor, they won't try as hard to save your life.
Truth: If you are sick or injured and admitted to the hospital, the number-one priority is to save your life. Organ and tissue donation can only be considered if you die and after your family is consulted.
- Myth: Having "organ donor" noted on your driver's license or donor card is enough to make you a donor.
Truth: Your family is consulted before donation can take place. Simply signing a donor card or indicating it on your driver's license is not enough. Tell your family you want to donate your organs or tissue so they can carry out your wishes later.