Sunday, 4 July 2010

Transplant Week

Today kick starts National Transplant Week. As I'm still recovering from my lung transplant I'm going to be doing as much behind the computer screen as I can. So I thought I'd start here with some myth busting. It still surprises me what people believe about organ donation and it just inforces the fact that Live Life Then Give Life are needed to educate people and help get the message across. So here goes.

If I agree to donate my organs, hospital staff won't work as hard to save my life.
Fact: When you go to the hospital for treatment, doctors focus on saving your life — not somebody else's. You'll be seen by a doctor whose specialty most closely matches your particular emergency. The doctor in charge of your care has nothing to do with transplantation.

Organ donation is against my Religion.
All the major religions of the UK support the principles of organ donation and transplantation. However, within each religion there are different schools of thought, which means that views may differ. All the major religions accept that organ donation is an individual choice. NHSBT has worked closely with religious leaders of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism to research and produce a series of leaflets explaining organ donation and religious viewpoints and principles. Which are available here.

Myth: I'm too old to be a donor.
Fact: The oldest donor to date was 104yrs old. In the case of cornea and some other tissue, age does not matter. For other organs it is the person's physical condition, not age, which is the deciding factor. Specialist healthcare professionals decide in each case which organs and tissue are suitable. Organs and tissue from people in their 70s and 80s are transplanted successfully.

Myth: I have a medical condition and I'm too ill to be a donor "people wouldn't want my organs".
Fact: Very few medical conditions automatically disqualify you from donating organs. The decision to use an organ is based on strict medical criteria. It may turn out that certain organs are not suitable for transplantation, but other organs and tissues may be fine. Only medical professionals at the time of death can determine whether organs are suitable for transplantation.

Myth: Carrying a donor card is all you need to do to be a donor.
Fact: Cards can and do get lost or damaged and you may not be carrying yours when you are taken to hospital. Adding your name to the register is a more permanent way of expressing your wishes. You can still carry a card if you wish to. And most importantly don't forget to tell your relatives and loved ones what your wishes are.

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