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Published on February 12, 2019

organ donation sign in hands

#TryItTuesday: Organ Donation – the Gift of Love

When most of us think of Feb. 14, we think about Valentine’s Day, the day of love.

Did you know that Feb. 14 signifies another important day? It’s National Organ Donor Day. What better way to share the gift of love than with organ donation!

Each day, the gifts of life, sight and health save and improve lives due to donations. Even though 125 million people in the U.S. have registered as donors, there are currently 114,000 people waiting for an organ.

Types of Organ Donation

Deceased Donations: Only about three people in 1,000 can actually become donors when they die.

Living Donations: While most organ and tissue donations occur after the donor has died, some organs (including a kidney or part of a liver or lung) and tissues can be donated while the donor is alive.

There are about as many living donors every year as there are deceased donors.

What Can Be Donated?

Several organs and many tissue types can be donated to help others, including:

Organs

  • Kidneys
  • Liver
  • Lungs
  • Heart
  • Pancreas
  • Intestines
  • Corneas

Tissues

  • Heart valves
  • Skin
  • Bone
  • Tendons
  • Hands and face
  • Blood stem cells, cord blood and bone marrow
  • Blood and platelets

Common Myths and Facts

Myth: I have a medical condition, so I can't be a donor.

Fact: Anyone, regardless of age or medical history, can sign up to be a donor.

The transplant team will determine at an individual's time of death whether donation is possible. There are a few conditions that would prevent a person from becoming a donor, such as HIV infection, active cancer, or a systemic infection.

You should still consider registering. Even with an illness, you may be able to donate your organs or tissues.

Myth: I'm too old to be a donor.

Fact: There's no age limit to organ donation.

To date, the oldest donor in the U.S. was age 93. What matters is the health and condition of your organs when you die.

Myth: I don't think my religion supports donation.

Fact: Most major religions in the United States support organ donation and consider donation as the final act of love and generosity toward others.

Myth: If they see I'm a donor at the hospital, they won't try to save my life.

Fact: When you are sick or injured and admitted to a hospital, the one and only priority is to save your life. Period. Donation doesn’t become a possibility until all lifesaving methods have failed.

Myth: Rich or famous people on the waiting list get organs faster.

Fact: A national computer system matches donated organs to recipients.

The factors used in matching include blood type, time spent waiting, other important medical information, how sick the person is, and geographic location.

Race, income, and celebrity are NEVER considered.

Myth: My family won't be able to have an open casket funeral if I'm a donor.

Fact: An open casket funeral is usually possible for organ, eye, and tissue donors.

Through the entire donation process, the body is treated with care, respect and dignity.

Myth: My family will have to pay for the donation.

Fact: There is no cost to donors or their families for organ or tissue donation.

Myth: Somebody could take my organs and sell them.

Fact: Federal law prohibits buying and selling organs in the U.S.

Myth: If I'm in a coma, they could take my organs.

Fact: The majority of deceased organ donors are patients who have been declared brain dead.

But brain death is NOT the same as coma. People can recover from comas, but not from brain death. Brain death is final.

You can sign up online to be an organ donor, signify your wishes to be an organ donor on your driver’s license or tell your closest family members of your decision.

Live Better. Live Balanced. Avera.

Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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