Help save lives through organ donation
April 20, 2010
By Tim Pfarr
While those people enabled more than 28,000 transplants to take place, tens of thousands of people were left without the transplants they needed. For many of those, the waiting was fatal.More than 14,000 people from across the country — both alive and deceased — donated tissue from their bodies in 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Everyone can help by signing up to be an organ donor, by which one gives legal consent for his or her organs to be donated in the case of his or her death. By being a donor after death, one can donate his or her heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas, small intestines, heart valves, skin, bone, connective tissue, veins, eyes and/or corneas.
Kevin O’Connor, CEO of Donate Life Today, Washington’s official organ donor registry, said one deceased person’s donations can save or enhance the lives of as many as 50 people.
“That’s quite a legacy to be able to leave behind for your surviving family members,” he said.
No one is discriminated against for any reason when determining who gives or receives organs, according to Donate Life Today’s Web site. Also, donating organs is free for the deceased donor’s family.
One can also specify what organs he or she would like to donate by registering with Donate Life Today.
Dr. Jorge Reyes, transplant surgeon for 20 years and director of transplant services at Seattle Children’s, said an organ transplant is the closest thing he has seen to a cure for an incurable condition, as new organs instantly bring renewed life to the recipient.
He added that it often comforts grieving family members when a recently deceased loved one donates organs.
“They find some sort of sense out of something that doesn’t make sense,” Reyes said.
Although typical organ donors are deceased at the time of their donation, some choose to become living donors who donate their organs to others through surgery.
Reyes said that while many become living donors for loved ones, some donate to strangers whom they may have heard are in need of organs.
Those who wish to become living donors must undergo an evaluation process to ensure that a given individual is physically and emotionally fit for donating.
Living donors give kidneys or partial livers, Reyes said.
You can also donate money to organ donation education. License tab renewal notices will notify you of the option to donate to this cause. You can also do so if you renew you tabs online, according to the Department of Licensing.