Just a couple of tips/suggestions/ answers to any questions or concerns one might have in becoming an organ donor…
Just who can become an organ donor?
Any person can indicate their intent to donate. For any of you folks under the age of 18, you gotta have your parent’s or guardians consent. The medical suitability of your organs or tissues is determined at the time of your demise.
Does it matter how old I am?
Nah, you can be as old as Methuselah or still be an infant. The deciding factor on whether you can donate is your physical condition, not your age. See above for age requirements.
How do I let people know that I want to donate my organs?
Here in the states, you can indicate your intention to become an organ donor on your driver’s license or state I.D card. Indicate your intent to be an organ and tissue donor on your driver’s license. Failing that, you can carry around something called an organ donor card.
This part is pretty important: Discuss your decision with family members and loved ones!!! Here’s why...
If I sign a donor card or indicate my donation preferences on my driver’s license, will my wishes be carried out?
Even if you sign a donor card and it's indicated on your license, it is essential that your family/loved ones know of your wishes since they might be required to sign a consent form in order for your organs to be donated.
What exactly can be donated?
Well, in the organ family you got your heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver and intestines.
In your tissue family you’ve got the cornea, skin, bone marrow, heart valves and your connective tissues.
Okay, so now I’m an organ donor, will it affect the quality of any medical care I receive?
I sure as hell hope not! By law, every effort will be made to save your life before donation is considered. I’m not sure what happens to people that have designated a “do not resuscitate” clause in matters such as a living will
I like the way I look, will organ donation disfigure me in any way and can I have an open casket at my funeral?
What are you worried about that for, you're dead. No, in actuality, the process of organ donation does not disfigure your precious good looks and does not interfere with open casket funerals.
I’m a minority, should I have any special concerns?
Glad you asked. The answer is yes. It seems some diseases of the kidney, heart, lung, pancreas and liver are found more frequently in minority populations than in the general population.
For example, African Americans, Asian and Pacific Islanders and Hispanics are three times more likely to suffer from end-stage renal disease than Whites.
Native Americans are four times more likely than Whites to suffer from diabetes.
Since some of these diseases are best treated through transplantation, successful matching or donor/recipient is crucial to the success of the operation Ergo, a shortage of organs donated by minorities might result in longer waiting periods and/or death. and longer waiting periods for transplants for minorities.
So far, it sounds pretty good, is there any cost to me or my family?
Absolutely not. You (of course not, you're dead) or your family will not pay any costs for the removal or your organs. The tab is picked up by the recipient through either insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.
This being America and in the spirit of capitalism, can I sell my organs?
Nice try. The National Organ Transplant Act makes it illegal to sell human organs and tissues. Anybody caught violating the Act is subject to fines and imprisonment. This act was passed in order to limit the black market for organs in which the wealthy would have an unfair advantage.
Alright already, how will my organs be doled out?
Patients are matched to organs based on a number of factors including blood and tissue typing, medical urgency, time on the waiting list, geographical location and so on and so on. Don’t worry about it – remember, you're dead.
You know what, I’m feeling extremely generous today, can I be an organ and tissue donor and also donate my body to medical science?
Sorry, while total body donation is an option, you can’t do it if choose to be an organ and tissue donor.
If you do choose to donate your entire body, you should contact the facility of your choice to make any arrangements. Usually medical schools, research facilities and other similar agencies will be happy to carve you up and study you all in the name of medical science.
From a personal point of view and all kidding aside, they can take whatever is left and do with it what they please if it goes to either help somebody who has an immediate need or it leads to further knowledge for future needs. I’m off my soapbox now. .