The following article attempts to demystify the practice of organ donation. It will discuss the concept, the myths and facts, as well as the advantages and disadvantages in relation to this practice. According to the US Health and Human Services Department, thousands of Americans die annually due to the lack of viable body organs for transplantation. It suggests that by enlisting as donors, individuals would stand a better chance of saving some of these lives.
The concept of organ donation involves the surgical transfer of healthy tissues and organs from one individual into another through the process of transplanting. Medical experts assert that organ donation helps in saving as many as fifty needy patients per day. Organs individuals donate would include bones, skin, bone marrow, cornea, kidneys, hearts, pancreas, and lungs among others (Truog, 2005).
Organ donation is usually open to individuals of various background regardless age, gender, and racial differences. However, underage donors need to be in the presence of their parents and guardians when consenting to the practice. On the other hand, those who are of age, usually 18 years and above, are free to sign up to become voluntary organ donors. Either case, experts would advice that donors let their friends and family know of their intentions (UDHHS, 2013).
For an individual to qualify as a donor, oxygenated blood should still be flowing through the organs before, during, and after the transplant to ensure their viability. This also requires that the dying donors die from circumstances deemed not dangerous to organ recipients. It is only after doctors exhaust all the major efforts in saving the life of a patient, and testing brain activity is donation considered a success.
The practice of organ donation begins with confirmation from the donor registry that indeed the donor consented to the program. If the possible donor is not in the registry, their legal representatives get the chance of authorizing the donation. Upon establishment of the decision, the representative then provides the donors’ social and medical history.
Lastly, donation experts proceed to determine the target organ and a needy patient on the list of waiting recipients. From the above discussion, it is certain that organ donation occurs with two kinds of donors as follows. First, deceased donors always offer intestinal, heart, lungs, liver, kidney, and pancreas. Secondly, living donors always offer kidneys, parts of the liver, pancreases, lungs, and intestines (Siegel & Alvaro, 2009).
The Myths and Facts Concerning Organ Donation
Many individuals would hesitate to become living and deceased donors. This is usually because of myths that surround the idea of organ donation. For instance, people who think about donating their organs fail to do so due to either misinformation or limited information. The following are a number of common misconceptions and their counterarguments concerning organ donation (UDHHS, 2013).
First, word has it that those practitioners in the emergency room concentrate too much on the recipient that the donor may die from negligence. Their main objective is to remove and transfer the organ as soon as possible to save the life of the recipient. On the contrary, the fact is that there are various practitioners present in the room during operations. Accordingly, the doctor charged with patient care has no business with the transplanting period.
Secondly, the doctors may remove the organ prematurely and, thus, killing a living donor. This serves as a typical tabloid myth since in reality, donors undergo various kinds of tests to ensure that they are truly dead. Thirdly, individuals believe that the doctors charge the donor’s family for the organs donated. However, the reality that counters this myth is that doctors never charge for donations. The only loss and cost the family is bound to incur efforts used to save a life. On the other hand, the recipient incurs the financial costs of the transplant (Siegel & Alvaro, 2009).
Fourth, it is a historical myth that racial background plays an important role in determining organ recipients. Contrarily, the organ transplant organization overlooks racial background when setting up a recipient to his donor. Fifth, the rich and powerful recipients always receive special priority when looking for organs. However, this might seem true because of the way such individuals stir attention. The Network for Organ Sharing ensures that celebrities undergo the same channels as their poor counterparts before transplants (UDHHS, 2013).
The sixth myth suggests that old, potential recipients fear that their organs may be too old for donation. However, this is a false assumption since the donation agency offers no cut off age for donors. Indeed, the power to make such decisions rests exclusively on the doctors. Lastly, individuals are bound to speculate that poor health could mean that doctors disqualify organs that were previously suited for transplant. The reality is that it is only in rare occasions that doctors disqualify potential donors. Consequently, health professionals have the ability to determine the suitability of a transplant just before one dies (UDHHS, 2013).
Advantages and Disadvantages of Organ Donation
There are two main advantages of organ donation. First, organ donors have the capability of saving a life at the time of their demise. This is a noble cause since saving someone else’s life stands out as the selfless act upon which individuals commit. Therefore, organ donation results to situations where doctors can save lives. This would be true for living donors since they take massive medical risks from their willingness to donate non-vital organs to needy patients. Kidneys are a perfect instance of organs that have a rate of top transplant success (UDHHS, 2013).
Secondly, organ donation reflects the fact that individuals have the feeling of morality. This implies that the populace view organ donation as a selfless and moral act. The argument may be because doctors cite many life-threatening risks associated with the practice. Indeed, not many individuals are incapable of undergoing the donation procedure. However, those who come forward usually receive huge amounts of gratefulness from the recipient, their friends, and families. It is worth noting, as a majority of recipients know, donors use this opportunity not to benefit in any way but to save other people’s lives (UDHHS, 2013).
On the other hand, one major disadvantage of organ donation is that there exists the likelihood that donations may not work. Whenever recipients get the chance of getting a new organ, the likelihood of body refusal is always present. As a result, the recipient may be subject to anti-rejection medicines for the rest of their life. This, however, may not assist in guarding the recipient against body-to-organ incompatibility (Siegel & Alvaro, 2009).
From the above discussion, it is evident that people have their own reasons for being for or against organ donation. Those against it may apply various theories by, for instance, stating that organs come from individuals who may have otherwise gotten a second lease of life. Regardless such concerns, the reality remains that thousands of patients will always be on the waiting list for organs. Of these, only half receive the needed organs while the other half stands the risk of death. Every individual, therefore, has the potential of saving the life of others by enlisting into this noble cause. The purpose of this article was to present adequate information on organ donation. In the end, it achieves its sole goal of demystifying the concept and practice at hand.