it comes to organ donation, differentiating between fact and fiction
can literally mean the difference between life and death. Knowing the
facts and understanding the significance of such an act can determine
whether a person actually becomes an organ donor.
According to Dr.
Ajay Sahajpal, medical director for the abdominal transplant program
at Aurora St. Lukeís Medical Center in Milwaukee, there are a number
of common organ donation misconceptions that keep people from making
the lifesaving decision.
think they are too old, so they donít consent. They donít think
they are in good health, so they donít see the point. They think
rich and famous people get preferential treatment," says Sahajpal.
These are all
myths, according to Sahajpal. He is also the senior medical director
for the Wisconsin Donor Network, which includes two in-state
procurement organizations. These organizations are third-party vendors
that manage the organs. One is affiliated with the BloodCenter of
Wisconsin, and the other is affiliated with the University of
hospitals in this country are mandated that they have to report these
donors to the procurement organizations as part of a national
act," explains Sahajpal.
Members of the
procurement organizations are nurses and trained staff who work
directly with the medical team and approach families regarding organ
donation. In many cases, a person has signed his or her driverís
license consenting to organ donation; in other instances, family
consent is required.
When it comes to
donation, one donor has the potential to impact more than 70 lives.
This means that even if someone has a heart attack or other major
organ failure, things like bone, eyes, veins and other tissue can all
be used and transplanted
of people added to the donor waiting list increases every year, while
the number of donors remains relatively the same," says Sahajpal.
He says thereís
also been a shift in the quality of donors over the last few decades.
In the 1980s, when there were fewer laws regarding such things as
seatbelt and gun safety, there were a lot more young, brain-dead
donors. Now the majority of the donors Sahajpal sees are older and
have died from heart attacks
His hope is that
regardless of their age or health, people will talk with their
families and make the decision to become a donor and give the gift of
life to others.