ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Do you have the box checked on your license to be an organ donor? Perhaps it’s time to think about it. April is National Donate Life Month.
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, there are 115 thousand people waiting for an organ, with a new person joining the list every 10-minutes.
Dr. Greg Ewald, medical director of the heart transplant program at the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center, joins us to debunk some organ donation myths.
- Myth 1: I signed the back of my driver’s license so I don’t need to tell anyone that I want to be an organ donor.
- Fact: By the time your will is read or doctors see your driver’s license or donor card, it may be too late to recover your organs and/or tissue. Telling your family now that you want to be an organ and tissue donor and enrolling today in the Organ and Tissue Donor Registry is the best way to ensure that your wishes are carried out.
- Myth 2: I am too old or too sick to become an organ and tissue donor.
- Fact: Anyone can be a potential organ and tissue donor regardless of age, race, demographics or medical history.
- Myth 3: In an emergency, the doctors may not do everything to save me.
- Fact: If you are sick or injured and admitted to the hospital, the number one priority is to save your life. Organ and tissue donation can only be considered after all life-saving options have been explored.
- Myth 4: Only hearts, livers and kidneys can be transplanted.
- Fact: Needed organs include the heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver and intestines. Tissue that can be donated includes the eyes, skin, bone, heart valves and tendons.
- Myth 5: I’d like to donate one of my kidneys now, but no one in my family needs a kidney.
- Fact: Whether it’s a distant family member, friend or complete stranger you want to help, you can donate a kidney through certain transplant centers, including the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center. If you decide to become a living donor, you will undergo extensive questioning to ensure that you are aware of the risks. You will also undergo testing to determine if your kidneys are in good shape and whether you can live a healthy life with just one kidney.