National Donate lIFE MONTH

If you have a driver’s license or other state identification card, you’ve probably been asked about your organ donor status before. About 165 million Americans have registered as donors as of 2019. However, only 3 in every 1,000 people die in a way that allows for organ donation, which is why there is always a need for more willing donors. In honor of April being National Donate Life Month, let’s look at a few common myths about organ donation so that you can make an informed decision for yourself.

MYTH: If I’m an organ donor, the hospital staff won’t try to save my life.


FACT: Your life and health is the sole priority of the hospital staff treating you. Only after all efforts to save your life have failed will the staff begin to consider steps for donation. Donors receive even more tests than non-donors after death to determine if they are truly dead before proceeding with organ donation.

MYTH: I’m too old/not healthy enough to be an organ donor.

FACT: Anyone can sign up to be an organ donor. Only at the time of death is the transplant team able to determine which organs or tissues can be used. There are very few medical conditions that automatically disqualify people for organ donation, and age is not one of them. The oldest donor in the U.S. was actually 93 years old!

MYTH: My religion opposes organ donation.

FACT: Most major religions in the United States—including Roman Catholicism, Islam, most branches of Judaism and most denominations of Protestantism—view organ donation as a final act of compassion and love. However, if this is a concern of yours, it would be a great idea to bring it up with a member of your clergy. You can also read more about various religions’ perspectives on organ donation here.

MYTH: Being an organ donor will prevent me from having an open-casket funeral.

FACT: Donors’ bodies are treated respectfully and carefully so that there are no visible signs of organ or tissue donation. Having an open-casket funeral is entirely possible. 

MYTH: My family will have to pay for me to donate my organs.

FACT: Donors’ families are never charged for organ donation, only the medical interventions that were performed in an attempt to save your life.

MYTH: If I want to be an organ donor, all I need to do is check the box on my driver’s license or state ID.

FACT: While this is certainly one important step, you should also register with your state’s donor registry (which you can find at organdonor.gov) and let your family know your decision. This is the best way to ensure that your wishes are respected.

The decision to become an organ donor is a highly personal one, but learning about the process can provide a great deal of clarity for those contemplating it. If you have any questions about organ donation, please feel free to call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay healthy and stay safe!

—The Wellness & Stress Clinic Team

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