Donate an Organ, Save A Life

Posted on March 21, 2011

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By becoming an organ donor, you can save the lives of up to 8 people; and if you donate tissues like blood cells, bone or corneas, you can help even more. In the past, organ transplants were considered a risky experimental procedure that had little success rate. Nowadays, organ transplants have become routine, with about 80 Americans receiving a lifesaving organ transplant every day. The people who are usually in need of a transplant are those with end-stage organ disease which leads to a permanent and complete failure of an organ.

 

Some organs can be donated while you’re still alive, examples include kidneys and livers. Donating these organs require major surgery and carry risks. That is why most people that do donate these organs are family or friends of the person who is in need of it. However, most organs though are donated after the donor has died. In order to be usable an organ must be recovered quickly after death. This leaves little time to weigh the options of whether to donate or not. Many organs come from patients that have been hospitalized following an accident or stroke. Since the person is declared dead, the possibility of donating those organs becomes the decision of the family. This may sometimes place a burden on the family if they are not aware of a donors choice to donate.

 

Steps to becoming an organ donor:

  • Sign up as an organ donor and tissue donor in your state’s donor registry. Go to www.organdonor.gov/statemap.asp

  • Show your choice on your driver’s license. Do this when you renew or obtain your license.

  • It is best to tell your family about your donation decision. Even if you’ve signed up, your family will be consulted before organ donation.

  • Tell your physician, faith leader and friends.

  • Prepare and sign a living will and an advance care directive. These legal documents can clarify your choice as a organ donor.

 

Go here for more information about organ donation and transplantation or call the Mayor’s Health Line at 617-534-5050 if you have any questions.

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