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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Organ/Tissue Donation....Distorting the MYTHS. Stating the FACTS.

Organ Donation. It is one of the most selfless, heroic acts a person can do for their fellow man. It gives another person (or a number of people) a new lease on life. A second chance that would not have come otherwise.

Since it's founding and inception, Organ, Tissue, and Eye Donation have made great strides, and had come a long way where medical technology is concerned.

Too bad public education and awareness have neither made the same wonderful strides since that time. There are so many myths, half truths and all-out lies when it comes to the topic of Organ/Tissue/Eye Donation. Some are classics that you have heard so many times, it's like second nature and doesn't even phase you when you hear the words blurted out unexpectedly.

The number one myth/lie I tend to hear the most is... "If I have an accident or other tragic medical emergency, and I am a Registered Organ Donor, then the EMS and the Emergency Department/hospital will NOT do EVERYTHING in their power to save my life, so that they can get my organs".

How very, VERY untrue that this statement is. All medical professionals are to do EVERYTHING in their means and within their power to save lives. No matter if the patient is an organ donor, or not. 

Another is.. "They might take my 'parts' when I am still legally alive, but look like I am dead".

Yet, this is another false statement. The Transplant Coordination Team must do various, and rigorous tests, including several EEG's, eye dilation test, and nerve sensation testing. After all of those are completed (multiple times) and each time nothing changes with negative results for EVERY time, then the patient is declared BRAIN DEAD (which is a legal form of death), and also their only means of having a heartbeat and breathing lungs is via the ventilator.

There were comments on a Fan Page I belong in regards to the possibility of New York mandating an "Opt-Out" Organ Donation System, where you are of "presumed consent to donate", unless you sign a paper/check a box for your State-issued Driver's License or ID that you wish to NOT be an Organ Donor. Basically, it is donation in reverse. Instead of VOLUNTARILY giving your organs, you will be PRESUMED to be a donor, unless you say otherwise.

Some of the comments were either of a selfish nature, or of not enough self-education in to the ins and outs of donating.

There are some people that don't want to donate being that they would only want to have their "parts" go to 'good people', not "killers, rapists" and others deemed less fitting of society.

There was one comment where an ADULT female would only donate (including her heart) ONLY to children. Sadly to say though, an adult (for the most part) cannot donate their organs to a child. Especially the heart and the lungs.

The only adult organs that are able to be cross-matched with children (TO MY KNOWLEDGE) is heart valves, and the liver (that can be cut in to 7 or 8 pieces and will regenerate to full size in the host body), skin, and the corneas (window of the eye).

Otherwise, there is no feasible ability to transplant adult organs in to children. Not unless the recipient's chest wall, kidney areas are of a compatible size of their donors.

In all real honesty, the last two excuses/explanations I gave as to why people wish to NOT donate their organs after their death are the two most selfish. Yes, children (especially infants and other small children) are at the greatest need of transplants. And they have the highest rate of donor shortage. But I do NOT fault the parents of deceased children. It is hard enough to lose your child, only to have to make a DRASTIC decision like that, at such a critical, emotional and bereaved time such as that.

But unlike the latter, I don't see where, in my mind and personal opinion, that there is a valid excuse to NOT donate (other than for religious practice/belief reasons). Especially when you put a "price" on donating. Such as stipulating that you only want a "good person or people" to have your organs. Or that as an adult only wants to give to children, which will make what you CAN give, very little.

Speaking of "setting a price" on Organ Donation. That is another misconception I caught on that Fan Page board. Some one (who rides motorcycles) said that he wouldn't want to donate, being that the DONOR family gets dumped with the cost of procurement, transporting of the organs and tissues, and for the RECIPIENT's  surger(ies).

Again, a FALSE statement/myth/accusation. Nothing, and I mean *NOTHING* is charged to the Donor or their family for *any* part of the Transplant process. That all befalls to the RECIPIENT. Believe me, I know. Just for my cornea (not including harvesting, transportation, or transplantation) cost me $3,000.00. ME!....Not my donor or their family. It is against FEDERAL law to charge a single dime to the Donor or their loved ones being a donor or for the donation process.

So, I hope that for those of you that are still deciding to become an Organ/Tissue Donor, or for those of you that never really knew much about the process have read this and have taken something away (positive) about the TRUTH of being a Donor.

I truly believe that if more people were to self-educate (through reputable organizations, websites and through personal experiences of recipients) of exactly how Donation works, there would be MILLIONS more people willing to sign up to be a HERO.


trae said...

. But I do NOT fault the parents of deceased children. It is hard enough to lose your child, only to have to make a DRASTIC decision like that, at such a critical, emotional and bereaved time such as that.
OK heres my take on this.. I MADE THAT DECISION AT THE WORST TIME OF MY LIFE (32 preggo as well, i might add)
i am able to hold my head high and be proud about her life because i know her death was not in vain. she gave a selfless gift to 3 people and i am forever grateful to tell people that.
It has made it a lot easier for me on the grief train ( although it still sucks)

become an organ donor,, NO ONE would say NO if THEY Need an organ to live???

love ya chick.. Trae

Missy said...

That's why I said that I (as in
*personally*, and sadly not all people take this view)cannot fault parents if they choose to NOT donate their child's organs.

To make the decision to do so, is a very life-altering, on-going (emotional) roller coaster, I'm sure. Especially if the recipient(s) do not contact you to let you know how they are doing (although I know some of those helped by your daughter DID write to you) and about the things another child (or adult) has accomplished, thanks to a parent's decision to donate their child's organs and tissues.

I can NEVER imagine the pain you went through (especially being 32 weeks pregnant) when you lost your daughter. But I can certainly say that I THANK YOU BOTH for such a selfless, heroic, loving act of kindness.

It takes a VERY special mother (and set of parents) to decide something such as that, as to let GOOD come out of something so tragic.

Dee said...

I really love that you chose this one to link up. Did we decide about an interview?? I've been sick and my mind was fuzzy

Missy said...

ACK! I still have to write it up and turn it in. With all the stuff with B happening, school ending for the summer and other stuff, I keep forgetting to go and fill it out. Damn!....I'll get it filled out TODAY and sent off. I am soooo sorry Dee.

Rachael :o) said...

Lets face it... not everyone takes the time to research these topics as you have Missy.

BTW, my husband recieved a donor ACL for his knee surgery Tuesday. No, it was not a life threatening situation, but it beats the heck out of weakening another part of his body to heal his whacked up knee.

Missy said...

Rachael, and I'm sure you know that "just because" it's an ACL transplant, it does NOT mean that your hubby's transplant is no-less important.

And I'm pretty sure that like myself and other tissue recipients, he (and you) are grateful and very thankful for his donor and their family.

Receiving a tissue transplant is just as much of a "big deal" as the solid organ transplants are. They too are life changing. And greatly improve a person's quality of life.

DollDuffer said...

My ex's mother died from a brain hemorrhage and he made the decision to donate all of her organs. One of the best things he ever did... :o)

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