Healthy Living: The Gift of Life

Updated 3 months ago

 

By: Amy Movius MD

Becoming an organ donor isn’t a pleasant idea for anyone.  It requires active consideration of our mortality and vulnerability to tragic events.  However, it is a choice.  Like most choices, it is best made with the benefit of accurate information.

Every day 18 people die while waiting for an organ transplant.

1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives.  The number of lives affected greatly exceeds this as the family, friends and community of those 8 individuals are also impacted.  Also, the family, friends, and community of the organ donor may be deeply affected.  I can attest to this personally.  During my nearly 20 years as a PICU physician I have been repeatedly humbled and awed by the grace and generosity of these family units in the midst of terrible crises.

Almost anyone can be a donor, regardless of age or health.

All major religions in the United States support organ donation.

An organ donor can still have an open casket funeral service.

Organ donation does not cost the donor family any money.

Registering as an organ donor does NOT affect the quality of care a person receives when they are ill.  It is only considered after death.  A specific care team handles donation; that team has nothing to do with the care of patients before death.

Enrolling as a potential organ donor is very easy.  Whenever a driver’s license or state identification card is issued or renewed, it can be included on the card.  It is also very easy to sign up on line or over the phone (website/phone number at bottom of page).  Informing your family and friends about your wishes for donation is extremely important.  If you have not made your wishes known, the choice will fall to others in the event of your death as there is a legal hierarchy of decision makers in these circumstances.    In that spirit, take a moment to carefully consider what your wishes are and make them known to ensure this very important choice is truly your own.

References/Contacts:

New England Organ Band

(800) 446-6362

www.DonateLifeNewEngland.org

www.maine.gov/sos/bmv/donatelife/

www.organdonor.gov

 


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