Demystifying Organ Donation

Organ_donationHi darling was thinking about you this morning but mostly relating to an issue that I strongly support and I believe may be dear to your heart. There is a misconception about being an organ donor in some African communities. Some people actually believe that once you are in an accident or in a near death situation and the emergency attendants discover that you are a registered organ donor, that they don’t try as hard to save your life that they give up easily on getting you top notch care because they want your organs, ridiculous right? Lol how this myth came to be strongly believed baffles me to this day. So I was wondering what you would think about writing a blog about this misconception maybe once we share it around some people maybe educated. Hearing this from one of us may dispel some of these strongly held views even from some of our well educated people 😊 tell me what your view is, thanks hun.

Let’s talk about organ donation. I am a registered organ donor and every person in my family who drives has the designation on their license including my seventeen year old daughter. So I would not be asking you to do something that I don’t believe in. Organ donation is very dear to my heart. I truly believe that there is no greater gift than the gift of life made possible by organ donors and their families. I am biased of course and think I have the most amazing and coolest job one could possibly have. Every time after we have sewn in the artery and vein and we are getting ready to sew in the ureter and its starts just pouring out urine, my eyes get big and I get so excited. I think how this recipient’s life is forever changed by this selfless gift. No more hours spend doing dialysis. I am fortunate enough to be at a program where we do small bowel transplants and multivisceral transplants. I say ‘WOW’ every time at reperfusion when everything is connected and the liver turns from a dull brown color to a reddish color and the bowel that was lifeless and white is now alive and pink. Just amazing. I wanted to address some myths about organ donation and urge each person reading this to register to be an organ donor.

If you’re in an accident the first thing is to save your life. No one is going to look to see if legacyoflifeyou are an organ donor until you are deemed brain dead.  You could be in a coma and recover from it, no one is going to take your organs until you are dead dead. Verification is very specific to ensure that the patient is truly brain dead. There is also donation after cardiac death. In this case the patient has suffered devastating and irreversible brain injury and may be near death, but does not meet formal brain death criteria. In these cases, the family has decided to withdraw care. When the patient’s heart stops beating, the organs are then recovered in the operating room. The surgeons involved in transplantation cannot be part of the end-of-life care or in the declaration of death. This type of donation does not cause or hasten death in any way. If after withdrawal of life support the patient does not die in a certain amount of time, then organs will not be recovered from that person because organs can not tolerate hypoxia for prolonged periods of time.

heroPeople think if they are not in perfect health they can not be an organ donor or that after a certain age they can not donate. That is false, you can have medical conditions and have perfectly good organs for donation and you can be 90 years old and have healthy organs that will help someone else reach 90! Some worry that they won’t be able to have an open casket at their funeral if they are a donor. Your body is handled with respect, dignity and care through out the whole process and it will not prevent an open casket. Something else that I have heard people say is that they worry that their organs may be sold on the black market to the rich and famous and they can jump the wait list and get organs faster. A national computer system matches donated organs to recipients and organ donation is highly regulated and federal law prohibits buying and selling organs. United Network of Organ Sharing is a nonprofit organization that is contracted by the federal government to oversee all procurements and transplant programs in the country.  Everything is watched closely. So think about it, would you rather take perfectly good organs to the grave or when your time comes to leave this world, would you rather gift someone the gift of life.


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