Facts & Myths: Organ Donation
Organ and tissue donation is a generous act that can save lives. Sadly, more than 100,000 Americans currently await organ donation, with many facing a low likelihood of finding a match. If you have been on the fence about becoming a potential donor, learn the following important organ donation facts and myths.
Myth: If I agree to donate, medical personnel won't try as hard to save my life.
Fact: Emergency doctors and surgeons focus entirely on saving a patient's life and rarely know whether or not the person has volunteered to become a donor.
Myth: Physicians may sign my death certificate before I actually die.
Fact: A popular tabloid headline, this myth is especially ridiculous, since doctors actually perform more tests on organ donors to ensure that they are deceased.
Myth: My religion forbids organ donation.
Fact: Organ donation is consistent with the beliefs of virtually every major religion, including Islam, Roman Catholicism and most Protestant and Judaism faiths.
Myth: I have to be 18 to become a donor.
Fact: While minors are unable to decide whether to become a donor on their own, they can express their desires to parents, who can then make the decision on their behalf.
Myth: If I donate tissue or organs, I cannot have an open casket.
Fact: Organ and tissue donation has virtually no impact on open-casket funerals, thanks to careful, conscientious measures that make the procedure unnoticeable.
Myth: I am too old to donate.
Fact: There is absolutely no defined cutoff age for donation, as long as you are in overall good health.
Myth: I have health problems that will exclude me from being eligible.
Fact: Very few health conditions automatically prevent people from donating organs.
Myth: The rich and famous receive priority over ordinary people.
Fact: Financial and celebrity status are not factors in organ allocation.
Myth: My family will have to cover the costs of donation.
Fact: A donor's family is never charged for donating; all costs for organ removal go to the recipient.
With these facts in mind, it's clear that organ donation is a zero-risk decision that can save lives. In fact, you can save as many as 50 people by becoming an organ donor. For more information, visit www.organdonor.gov.