Debunking 10 organ donation and tissue transplantation myths

Debunking 10 organ donation and tissue transplantation myths

Myth: Being cremated or buried without all organs will prevent a soul from resting in peace.

Truth: This is a myth that has been dispelled by all religious bodies. No religion is against organ donation, in fact religions promote organ donation because it's seen as a noble and noteworthy sacrifice.

Myth: Donating blood and organs will make a person weak and sick.

Truth: Doctors will make sure only healthy living donors are allowed to donate organs.

Myth: Pledging to donate organs upon death will cause doctors to not do their very best to save that life in case of accident or illness, in hopes of harvesting organs.

Truth: Doctors, nurses and paramedics will do everything in their power to save a life. In fact, an individual must be in a hospital, on a ventilator and pronounced brain dead in order to donate organs.

The transplant team is not notified until all life-saving efforts have failed and permission has been given by the deceased's family.

Myth: If you are a registered donor, doctors may remove your organs before your death.

Truth: Brain death (when the brain dies due to lack of blood and oxygen) is a medically, legally, and morally accepted determination of death. To determine brain death, more than one diagnosis of brain death and a series of tests over a period of time is required before the donor's family is presented with the opportunity to donate.

Also, one can specify which organs or tissues to donate in your will or by telling your family which specific "gifts" you would like to donate at the time of your death. Your wishes will be followed. The law only allows harvesting of the organs that you have indicated.

Myth: An open-casket funeral will not be an option if organs or tissues are donated.

Truth: Donated organs are removed surgically, similar to other types of surgery. Doctors maintain the utmost dignity and respect for the donor at all times, so much so that donation will not interfere with traditional funeral arrangements, such as having an open casket funeral.

A donor's body is clothed for burial, so there are no visible signs of organ or tissue donation. For bone donation, a rod is inserted where the bone is removed. With skin donation, a very thin layer of skin similar to a sunburn peel is taken from the donor's back.

Myth: "I'm too old, nobody would want my organs."

Truth: In reality, there's no defined cut-off age for donating organs. The decision to use organs is based on strict medical criteria, not age. At the time of death, trained medical professionals will evaluate patients on a case-to-case basis to determine which organs and tissues are suitable for donation.

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