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Save a Life – Be an Organ Donor
Each day about 74 people receive organ transplants. Nineteen people die each day waiting for transplants that cannot take place because of the shortage of donated organs. Make an informed decision about organ and tissue donation. Don’t let myths and rumors keep you from saving lives. Learn the facts.
There are some situations from which people will not recover. People cannot recover from brain death. It is final. Brain death and coma are not the same. People can recover from comas.
The medical staff trying to save lives is separate from the transplant team. All efforts to save a life need to be exhausted before transplant surgeons are called in. Every effort is made to save a life before donation is considered, even if doctors know the patient wishes to be a donor.
Organs are matched by a computerized matching system. It does not select recipients based on fame or wealth. Organs are matched by blood and tissue typing, which can vary by race. Patients are more likely to find matches among donors of their same race. Organs are also matched by organ size, medical urgency, and waiting time.
There are no age limits for who can donate. People of all ages may be donors. Physical condition, not age, is important. Newborns as well as senior citizens have been organ donors. Persons younger than 18 years of age must have a parent’s consent.
The donor’s family does not pay for the cost of organ donation. All costs of organ and tissue donation are paid by the recipient. Organs cannot be bought or sold in the U.S.; it is illegal. Violators of this federal law are subject to prison time and fines.
How can you become a lifesaver? Where can you sign-up to be an organ donor? You can indicate your intent to be a donor on your driver’s license. If you don’t drive, you can complete a donor card (www.organdonor.gov) and carry it in your wallet. Tell your doctor and loved ones your donation wishes.