Organ and Tissue Donation-General Myths

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There are a lot of wrong ideas out there about organ and tissue donation. The biggest misconception out there is about the quality of medical service you will receive if the medical staff knows that you are an organ donor. Some people believe this rumor that they will not try as hard to save your life, that they will in fact, give up on you. This is false. Totally false. The medical staff that are working to save your life are completely different than the transplant programs staff. Donor organizations such as organ and tissue banks serve as the intermediaries in the donation process. Hospitals notify donor organizations only after all efforts have been made to save the patient's life.

Brain Death Another common falsehood concerning organ and tissue donation is that doctors might take organs before the patient is actually dead, which is a misunderstanding of brain death. Brain death is not the same as "life support." Death can occur in two ways: when the heart and lungs stop functioning or when the brain stops functioning. Brain death is when a person has an irreversible brain injury, which causes all brain activity to stop permanently. When this happens, the heart and lung functions can be maintained with the aid of artificial life support for a short time before the organs begin to deteriorate. Brain death is an accepted medical, ethical and legal principal. Only after brain death is diagnosed and declared in a hospital can organs be donated. When on such medical support, the body has color and is warm to the touch, however it is not alive. The bottom line is that brain death is not a coma - it is irreversible.

www.transweb.org Money Factor Some people wrongly think that it costs money to donate. Actually, donation is a gift and costs the donor family nothing. All costs associated with the recovery are charged to the donor program. In fact, a program proposed by the Pennsylvania governor's advisory committee recommended offering families money for funeral costs in hopes of encouraging organ donations. The $300 in financial support would be provided by the three-year pilot program could begin as early as September.

Special Treatment Rich and famous people do not get organs sooner than the rest of us. The allocation of organs is determined by the United Network of Organ Sharing, UNOS , a nonprofit organization. The distribution system is based on factors such as blood type, length of time on the waiting list, geographical location, severity of illness and geographical location, as well as other medical criteria. RESEARCH MORE Put in about Mickey Mantle

Donor's Characteristics Some people think that the recipient of an organ inherits the donor's characteristics. It has never been scientifically proven, however several reports from transplant recipients have been stated otherwise. Maybe the power of suggestion influenced their actions or perhaps the experience of the transplant affected their behavior.

Age Limits The age limits for organ donation no longer exists. Organs may be donated from someone as young as a newborn. However, for tissue donation, the general age limit is 70. People under the age of 18 are able to become a donor with parental consent. It is essential for people who want to be a donor to tell their family. Signing a donor card is not enough, because without family or a loved one's consent, the transplantation will not be possible.

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