Organ Donation Questions, Answers, and Tips

To An Organ Donor

By Frances Talbott-White

We may not have been on the same path before,
but today you walk with me.
We may not have sung the same songs before,
but today you sing with me.
You may have been younger or older,
darker or lighter, larger or smaller than I,
but a part of you has helped to make me whole.

If I could speak to those who mourn for you,
I'd try to tell them how your light still shines
on every page I read or write,
in every smiling face I see.
We may not have been on the same path before,
but today you walk with me.

1. Signing a donor card or marking donor on your driver's licence indicates your wish to be a donor. At the time of death, however, it is up to your next-of-kin whether your organs and tissues will be donated. It is VERY important that you discuss your wish to be an organ and tissue donor with your family, so that your wishes will be followed at the time of death. It is estimated that about 35% of potential donors never become donors because family members refuse to give consent.

2. Nationwide more than 60,000 patients are currently waiting for an organ transplant. Each month 2000 more patients are added to the list.

3. Every day 10 or 11 people die while waiting for a vital transplant, such as a heart, liver, kidney, pancreas, lung or bone morrow.

4. Approximately 10 percent of patients currently waiting for a liver transplant are under 18 years of age.

5. Organ donors can range in age from newborn to 65 years and sometimes older.

6. People who are older than 65 years can be donors, especially of corneas, skin and bone.

7. There are about 10,000 to 14,000 people who die each year who meet the criteria for organ donation, but less than half that many become actual donors.

8. Organ and tissues are removed surgically and the donor's body is closed. There are no outward signs of organ donation and open casket funerals are still possible.

9. Almost all religions approve of organ and tissue donation. It is seen by many as the ultimate charitable act.

10. Some organs and tissues that can be transplanted include kidneys, lungs, livers, panceases, hearts, small intestine, bone, corneas, skin, heart valves, veins, cartilage and other connective tissues. You may specify which organs or tissues you want donated.

You can find more information at the following web sites:

25 Facts About Donation and Transplantation

Top 10 Myths About Organ Donation

Donation Basics

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