How do you feel when you have to wait for something you really, really want? What if this was something you literally couldn’t live without? How many of you have actually thought about organ donation? Well according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation network, as of 5:30 pm on Wednesday there are 110,912 patients currently on the waiting list, and among these are men, women and children of all races and ethnic backgrounds, and to that number one more person is being added every eleven minutes.
Many people on this list will die before they receive a transplant due to lack of organ donors. This does not have to happen. We can help by donating our organs. There are many misconceptions regarding organ donations. Many people believe that they would be too old or even too young when they die to donate their organs. Many even believe that it would be to too expensive for their families, or that once a hospital finds out that they are an organ donor, the doctor that had been so desperately been trying to save your life, would stop. However, none of these beliefs are in fact true.
Upon death your organs are assessed for their condition, which often has little to do with your age. The cost of an organ transplant is the responsibility of the recipients insurance, not the deceased or their family. But most importantly, the team of doctors at the hospital working to save someone’s life are completely separate from doctors’ that would perform the organ and or tissue transplants. Someone who is interested in becoming a donor can even specify which organs they would like to donate and can even specify whether or not they want to be a tissue donor as well.
There are as I said before 110, 912 patients currently on the organ transplant waiting list, and often the recipients need more than one organ. On average seventy-four people will receive the gift of an organ donation, while about twenty will die waiting each day. Every eleven minutes one more name is added to the waiting list, that adds up to roughly one hundred and thirty people per day. There are two types of organ donations. First there are donations made upon death. When you die you can donate organs such as: liver, kidneys, heart, pancreas, and lungs and many different tissues within your body.
Tissue donations are often used to treat burn victims, repair ligaments or replace bone. Secondly there is the option of a living donation. Most living donors tend to be family members, or close friends of someone that is in desperate need of a vital organ, but most are very selfless individuals helping out strangers. Living donors can donate one kidney, a partial liver, lung or pancreas. Their liver will regenerate to full size in both the donor and the recipient and the kidney will enlarge to function normally.
The lung and pancreas will not change but most people are just fine at reduced functioning. If you decide you want to give the gift of life, there are several ways to make your wishes to be an organ donor known. State and local registries are a great place to start, sign and carry an organ donor card in your wallet or purse. The DMV has an option you can choose that makes your decision known on your drivers’ license. Most importantly is that your families be well informed of your decision.
Your wishes will be carried out if you have signed on registry or through the DMV, but it makes it much easier on your family if they know it was your choice. As you can see, donating your organs and tissue can be one of the most important decisions you ever make and also the greatest gift you could ever give. So I hope from hearing this speech that each and every one of you, or at least the majority of you will understand why it is so important that we donate our organs. Each of us has the potential to help approximately eight people with our organ and roughly fifty people with tissue donations (Lifebanc 2011).
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