Facts about donations & transplants
By Guest Columnist Stephanie Duguid
April -- National Donate Life Month started by Donate Life America and its partnering organizations in 2003 -- celebrates of one of the most remarkable success stories in the history of medicine as it raises awareness about organ donations and transplants.
Donations and transplants demonstrate amazing medical developments, give hope to thousands of people with organ failure and provide many others with active, renewed lives. Yet, even with continuing advances in medicine and technology, the need for organs and tissue is vastly greater than the number available for transplants. Seventeen people die every day waiting for a transplant.
Six things you can do: Register to be an organ, eye, or tissue donor. Volunteer. Raise awareness by joining the MORA Facebook page and follow MORA on Twitter. Share your own story. Have a conversation about tissue and organ donation. Give to MORA through a tax-deductible donation or by purchasing a car tag to enhance public education and donor awareness.
Despite continuing public education efforts, misconceptions and inaccuracies about donations persist. To address the misunderstandings, Donate Life America points out:
Anyone can be a potential donor regardless of age, race, or medical history.
All major religions in the United States support organ, eye and tissue donation and see it as the final act of love and generosity toward others.
If you are sick or injured and admitted to the hospital, the number one priority is to save your life. Organ, eye and tissue donation can only be considered after you are deceased.
When you are on the waiting list for an organ, what counts is the severity of your illness, time spent waiting, blood type, and other important medical data, not your financial status or celebrity status.
An open casket funeral is possible for organ, eye and tissue donors. Through the entire donation process the body is treated with care, respect and dignity.
There is no cost to the donor or their family for organ or tissue donation.
Information about an organ donor is only released to the recipient if the family of the donor requests or agrees to it.
MORA/Donate Life Mississippi, a not-for-profit organization with a sole mission to inspire all Mississippians to save and enhance life through organ, eye, and tissue donation, underscores:
More than 106,774 Americans (men, women, and children) are on the waiting for a lifesaving transplant and almost 1,300 of those are Mississippians.
Every 10 minutes a new name is added to the National Transplant Waiting List.
One organ donor can save up to 8 lives, restore sight to 2 people, and enhance more than 75 people’s lives through tissue donation.
As of January, 2022, Mississippi had more than one million registered organ donors. If you have ever considered registering, there are three ways to enroll in Mississippi’s Donor Registry.
Register online at msora.org/register.
Register when you obtain or renew your Mississippi driver’s license at a Mississippi Department of Public Safety.
Register at a MORA table at community events. MORA staff is committed to educating the public about the process of donation and to dispelling the common myths that surround donation. Members of the MORA staff are available to speak on the importance of organ donation at most any time.
Mississippi residents who are at least 18 years old can enroll in the Mississippi Donor Registry. Be sure you do not eliminate yourself as a donor for fear you will not qualify or be able to help. Each potential organ, eye, and tissue donor is evaluated on an individual basis for suitability. The organs that can be donated include the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, and small intestine. Tissue donations include corneas, eyes, skin, bone, tendons, ligaments, vessels, and heart valves.
Your wish to be a donor will not interfere with your medical care. The number one priority of medical personnel is to save YOUR life. Registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor is granting first person authorization that this is your final wish. Tell your family you've made this decision.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Stephanie Duguid is Dean of Academic Instruction at Co-Lin. She is also an athletic trainer and nutrition specialist and has been teaching courses related to those two areas as well as practicing what she preaches for more than twenty years.