Organ Donation

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Donate Life
Did you know that seventeen people will die today? They will not die because they were in a car wreck, involved in a shooting, or because it was simply that their time had come. Seventeen people will die because they couldn't get an organ transplant in time. Money's not the issue here. Neither is scarcity. There are potential donors who pass away every day who could meet the needs of people on the waiting list. The problem is the potential donors die without leaving instructions that they wish to be an organ donor. Each donor could enhance the lives of up to fifty people. Everyone should sign up to be an organ donor because the greatest gift you can give is the gift of life.

According to the United Network of Organ Sharing, as of February 28, 2006, there are 91,666 people on the waiting list for a life saving organ transplant (Organ Donation). The actual number of organs needed is even greater because some people on the waiting list are waiting on multiple organs. Seventeen people die a day waiting for a transplant. 6,205 people a year die waiting for a transplant (Statistics). What if this was your loved one? What can you do to lower these numbers? Every thirteen minutes another name is added to the national waiting list, 103 people every twenty-four hours, 37,595 every year (Statistics). The United Network for Organ Sharing coordinates the donors and recipients. They have a very sophisticated system that ensures everything runs as smoothly and effortlessly as possible. Patients who are waiting for a life-sustaining transplant must rely on the generosity of others and the misfortune of that generous person. Someone must die, in order for another person to live. Dying is a part of life, but nobody likes to talk about it. The reason many people don't talk about organ donation is because it involves death. But, by discussing organ donation and deciding to donate it could give another person a chance to live, or to improve the quality of their life. By making the decision to be an organ donor, you are choosing to save lives. This truly is the greatest gift you can give, the gift of life. Jacob received the gift of life through a liver transplant three years ago at Children's Mercy Hospital, where I work, and I was privileged to provide care for him. "People don't normally think of young children and organ transplants…When people hear Jacob's story, they cannot believe all that he has been through. His big brown eyes and infectious laugh and smile make it hard to believe. Because of a 7-year-old ‘angel' from Colorado, Jacob now has the opportunity to live a healthy, normal life" (Smirl). Unlike Jacob, not everyone waiting for their life saving organ transplant survives until one is available. I have also been able to provide love, support and care to these patients as well at Children's Mercy Hospital. One of the most common reasons for objecting to organ donation is that people believe the doctors will not try to save their life if they are aware that he or she is an organ donor. But, the fact is: Organ and tissue recovery takes place only after all efforts to save your life have been exhausted and death has been legally declared. The medical team treating you is completely separate from the transplant team. The Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) is not notified until all lifesaving efforts have failed and death has been determined. The OPO does not notify the transplant team until your family has consented to donation (Top 10 Myths). You might object to being an organ donor because you think that wealthy people and celebrities are moved to the top of the list faster than "regular" people. When in reality the truth is:

The organ allocation and distribution system is blind to wealth or social status. The length of time it takes to receive a transplant is governed by many factors, including blood type, length of time on the waiting list, severity of illness and other...
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