Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Oh The Controversy

Signing up to be an organ donor is one of the most generous things you can do—especially when you consider that a single donor can potentially save eight lives.  That’s eight people who won’t have to spend agonizing months or years on the transplant waiting list, who will get a second chance, because you made the selfless decision to be a donor.

If you would accept an organ why wouldn’t you give one? By deciding to be a donor, you are providing hope for the thousands of people awaiting organ transplants and for the millions of people whose lives could be enhanced through tissue transplants.  It’s the greatest gift you can give—the gift of life.

The video plainly explained why I do this.  Why I'm writing this post.  I have a very personal connection to the topic.  However, even if I didn't, I'd still support it. Below, as promised in the video, I've answered some myths that surround organ donation and remain responsible for the stigma pressing the issue.  

Myth: If I agree to donate my organs, the 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.
Myth: Maybe I won't really be dead when they sign my death certificate.
Fact: Although it's a popular topic in the tabloids, in reality, people don't start to wiggle their toes after they're declared dead. In fact, people who have agreed to organ donation are given more tests (at no charge to their families) to determine that they're truly dead than are those who haven't agreed to organ donation.
Myth: Organ donation is against my religion.
Fact: Organ donation is consistent with the beliefs of most major religions. This includes Roman Catholicism, Islam, most branches of Judaism and most Protestant faiths. If you're unsure of or uncomfortable with your faith's position on donation, ask a member of your clergy.
Myth: I'm under age 18. I'm too young to make this decision.
Fact: That's true, in a legal sense. But your parents can authorize this decision. You can express to your parents your wish to donate, and your parents can give their consent knowing that it's what you wanted. Children, too, are in need of organ transplants, and they usually need organs smaller than those an adult can provide.
Myth: An open-casket funeral isn't an option for people who have donated organs or tissues.
Fact: Organ and tissue donation doesn't interfere with having an open-casket funeral. The donor's body is clothed for burial, so there are no visible signs of organ or tissue donation. For bone donation, a rod is inserted where bone is removed. With skin donation, a very thin layer of skin similar to a sunburn peel is taken from the donor's back. Because the donor is clothed and lying on his or her back in the casket, no one can see any difference.
Myth: I'm too old to donate. Nobody would want my organs.
Fact: There's no defined cutoff age for donating organs. The decision to use your organs is based on strict medical criteria, not age. Don't disqualify yourself prematurely. Let the doctors decide at your time of death whether your organs and tissues are suitable for transplantation.
Myth: I'm not in the best of health. Nobody would want my organs or tissues.
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. Don't disqualify yourself prematurely. Only medical professionals at the time of your death can determine whether your organs are suitable for transplantation.
Myth: Rich and famous people go to the top of the list when they need a donor organ.
Fact: The rich and famous aren't given priority when it comes to allocating organs. It may seem that way because of the amount of publicity generated when celebrities receive a transplant, but they are treated no differently from anyone else. The reality is that celebrity and financial status are not considered in organ allocation.
Myth: My family will be charged if I donate my organs.
Fact: The organ donor's family is never charged for donating. The family is charged for the cost of all final efforts to save your life, and those costs are sometimes misinterpreted as costs related to organ donation. Costs for organ removal go to the transplant recipient.

Now that you have the facts, you can see that being an organ donor can make a big difference, and not just to one person. By donating your organs after you die, you can save or improve as many as 50 lives. And many families say that knowing their loved one helped save other lives helped them cope with their loss.
Also, some of the problem isn’t that people don’t want to donate organs or even that they don’t sign up to become donors. It’s that currently, the health care and legal systems don’t ensure that a person’s wishes regarding organ donation are honored. Even if you sign a donor card or the back of your driver’s license, if your family doesn’t give its approval, the hospital will not procure your organs — in spite of your prior written consent. The National Network of Organ Donors believes that signing a legal document should guarantee, without exception, that your wishes are met.

That’s why they created the network, and why we’ve made it their mission to get every adult in America to join the registry. They want to remove the barriers, both legal and emotional, that can prevent life-saving transplants from taking place.

The Network understands that a grieving family may not be in the position to make a decision about organ donation at the time of their loved one’s death. And yet, that’s precisely when doctors must ask family members for permission. Why do hospitals need this consent if you have already signed an organ donor card or the back of your driver’s license? Because they may fear a lawsuit if they go against the wishes of a patient’s family, especially if the family is vehemently opposed to organ donation.

So educate your families people.  Let them know what you want.

Also, regarding stem cell research.

Growing up I was told by some people that stem cell research was wrong, immoral.  Even murder.  Stem cells are primal cells found in all multi-cellular organisms that retain the ability to renew themselves through cell division and can differentiate into a wide range of specialized cell types. Basically, say someone had Parkinson's. This disease sets in when cells in the brain that secrete a specific chemical die out, so we could turn stem cells into the missing cell type and implant them in the brain, curing the disease. Paralysis results from damage to the spinal cord, but we could turn stem cells into nerve cells and use them to bridge the gap. If a person has a severe heart attack, the heart muscle becomes damaged and can't work as well, making the person progressively weaker and leading to death, but we could turn stem cells into heart cells and replace the damaged tissue.

We could cure just about anything.

But funding for the research has stopped because of ethical issues involved.  Stem cells come from three places.  Embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells, and chord cells.  It's only when they're taken from embryonic cells that people start to raise questions.  Is it ethical?  Is that the taking of human life?  Well, do the research.  And make your own decision.  But remember, there are other sources for stem cells too.  They don't all come from embryos.  So in my opinion, the research needs to move forward.  We're over a decade behind the rest of the world in the research.  There's tons of potential.  And if we don't commit to the research, we'll NEVER see the results.  

So, that's my long, exhuasting blurb for the week.  Hope I stirred some thought!  Till next time!

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