April is Organ Donor Month but in my family we think about organs daily. My mother, uncle and aunt all suffer from polycystic kidney disease glomerulonephritis. With a diagnosis of glomerulonephrtis this means that all three have had renal failure, end stage renal disease and had to do dialysis.
There are many myths about organ donation and to read the complete list visit the Mayo Clinic website. Here are the questions I used to have when organ donations happened to “other people.”
Myth: If I agree to donate my organs, the hospital staff won’t work as hard to save my life.
Fact: When you go to the hospital for treatment, doctors focus on saving your life — not somebody else’s. You’ll be seen by a doctor whose specialty most closely matches your particular emergency. The doctor in charge of your care has nothing to do with transplantation.
Myth: Maybe I won’t really be dead when they sign my death certificate.
Fact: Although it’s a popular topic in the tabloids, in reality, people don’t start to wiggle their toes after they’re declared dead. In fact, people who have agreed to organ donation are given more tests (at no charge to their families) to determine that they’re truly dead than are those who haven’t agreed to organ donation.
Myth: Organ donation is against my religion.
Fact: Organ donation is consistent with the beliefs of most religions. This includes Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam and most branches of Judaism. If you’re unsure of or uncomfortable with your faith’s position on donation, ask a member of your clergy. Another option is to check the federal Web site OrganDonor.gov, which provides religious views on organ donation and transplantation by denomination.
Why you should consider organ donation?
By donating your organs after you die, you can save or improve as many as 50 lives. When my aunt was blessed with a kidney, her donor also donated lungs, skin tissue and his other kidney to people in need.
It’s especially important to consider becoming an organ donor if you belong to an ethnic minority. Minorities including African-Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, and Hispanics are more likely than whites to have certain chronic conditions that affect the kidney, heart, lung, pancreas and liver. Certain blood types are more prevalent in ethnic minority populations. Because matching blood type is necessary for transplants, the need for minority donor organs is especially high.