20 Facts You Don’t Know About Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation

donation tree

Leave a legacy behind by saying “yes” to organ, eye and tissue donation.

With all the myths and misconceptions about organ, eye and tissue donation, it can be hard to answer the question, “Would you like to be an organ donor?” Organ donation is a positive act which saves and enhances the lives of many. Currently, there are more than 117,000 people nationally waiting for a life-saving organ transplant and more than 2,300 of those live in Maryland. Knowing the facts about donation will help you make an informed decision to potentially give the gift of life. Here is a list of 20 facts you probably didn’t know about organ, eye and tissue donation:

1. No patient is ever too old or too young to give the gift of life. The decision to use a patient’s organs and tissue is based on strict medical criteria, not age.

2. One donor can save up to nine lives, enhance the lives of 50 people through tissue donation and restore sight for up to two people through cornea donation.

3. Every 12 minutes a new patient is added to the waitlist.

4. Becoming a donor costs nothing to the donor or their family.

5. The Maryland Donor Registry, www.donatelifemaryland.org, allows you to specify which organs and tissues you’d like to donate.

6. Once a person receives an organ transplant they take medications called immunosuppressant’s to help keep their immune system from attacking the new organ. These medications are taken for the rest of their lives.

7. The doctors working to save a patient’s life in an emergency room or a hospital’s intensive care unit are separate from the medical team involved in the donation transplantation process. Doctors first priority is to save lives.

8. Brain death is irreversible cessation of all functions of the brain and brainstem, as determined by the patient’s attending physician and appropriate consultants, using national testing guidelines developed by the American Academy of Neurology. Brain death is a medical and legal definition of death.

9. Death by cardiac criteria is defined as the cessation of cardiopulmonary function. When your heart and lungs stop working at the same time and cannot be restarted.

10. Very few medical conditions automatically disqualify someone from donating organs. The decision to use an organ is based on strict medical criteria.  

11. A donor is never transported from the hospital they are in for the recovery process. Everything is completed at the donor’s hospital.

12. If someone decides to become a living donor (donation of partial liver, one kidney or partial lung), they can still live a good quality of life after the donation.

13. During skin recovery for tissue donation, skin is only removed from the back and thighs.

14. For cornea donation, the part of the eye used is the cornea. The eye’s cornea is the clear front surface and is part of the eyeball wall. If you wear contact lenses, the cornea is where you are placing them.

15. Tissue donation includes veins, heart valves, skin, bone, connective tissues  and corneas.

16. In accordance with state and federal regulations, hospitals in our service area are required to contact The Living Legacy Foundation in the event of a patient’s death or imminent death.

17. Research shows a vast majority of religious groups support organ and tissue donation and transplantation so long as it does not impede the life or hasten the death of the donor.

18. A person can still have an open casket funeral if they donate their organs, eyes and tissues.

19. During a kidney transplant, sometimes doctors will leave the nonfunctioning kidney in the body and just add the donated kidney.

20. The MVA is not the only place you can register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor. You can designate yourself at  www.donatelifemaryland.org or at www.takeaminutesavealife.org.

For more information on The Living Legacy Foundation, visit www.thellf.org

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About Mia

Mia is the Community Outreach Associate for The Living Legacy Foundation. She assists with the development and execution of community outreach programs in order to increase public awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation as well as increase the number of actionable designated donors in the LLF Donor Service Area, with primary focus in the Baltimore Metropolitan Area.
This entry was posted in Community Education, Donate Life Maryland. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 20 Facts You Don’t Know About Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation

  1. Pingback: Donation Myths: BUSTED! | Recycle Yourself Blog

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