There are many myths and misconceptions concerning organ and tissue donation. People must have the facts in order to make informed decisions about donation. The fact is more than 100,000 Americans are currently waiting for life-saving organ transplants and thousands more need life-enhancing tissue transplants. It is a fact that America could meet the need for donated organs and tissue if more people were willing to become donors. By separating fact from fiction, Americans will be better prepared to make the donation decisions for themselves and their loved ones.
Myth If I am admitted to the hospital and they are aware that I have signed a donor card, I will not be treated as aggressively because of the need for organs.
Fact The decision to sign a donor card will in no way affect the level of medical care for a sick or injured person. The team of doctors and nurses involved in treating the patient is not involved with the transplant/recovery team, which is called in only after death has occurred.
Myth My religious beliefs prevent me from considering organ donation.
Fact Major religions support organ donation. In fact, the Rabbinical Council of America has approved organ donation and Pope John Paul II referred to organ donation as an act of great love. Learn more about your religions views.
Myth The donorís family has to pay for the recovery of organs.
Fact There is never a charge to the family of the donor for organ recovery. All associated costs are paid by the organ procurement organization.
Myth The body is often mutilated to obtain organs and tissue.
Fact There is no marring of the body during organ or tissue recovery. The organs and tissue are removed with dignity, in a sterile surgical procedure like that performed on a living patient.
Myth Organ transplants can be "bought" by the wealthy and powerful.
Fact Organs are computer matched according to compatibility of donor and recipient tissue, determined by various tests, waiting time, and the medical need of the recipient. Social or financial data are not part of the computer database and, therefore, are not factors in the determination of who receives an organ.
Myth If a person donates his organs or tissue, a normal funeral service cannot be held.
Fact Funeral arrangements should not be delayed by organ and/or tissue donation. Additionally, since the body is not disfigured, a traditional, even open casket service may be possible.
Myth Transplants don't really work. They're just experimental.
Fact Transplantation is regarded as standard medical practice for a constantly increasing number of conditions. Survival rates are impressive. The one-year survival rate for kidney transplant recipients is almost 97 percent; for heart recipients, over 83 percent; and for liver recipients, more than 81 percent.