Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Many waiting for organs

Almost 4000 Canadians were waiting for life-saving organ transplants in 2001, and thousands more were waiting for other transplants, such as corneas and heart valves, indicate statistics gathered by Health Canada. Sadly, according to more information from 2001, there were only 14 organ donors per million people. Luckily for the few people who do get the organs, the organ donors usually donate more than one organ upon their death.

What adds to the frustration of these low donation numbers, is that organ transplants are highly successful surgeries – adding years to the recipients’ life.

According to Health Canada, nearly 98% of all kidney transplants, 90% of liver transplants, and 85% of heart transplants are successful.

Five myths about organ donation:

Myth 1: You can’t donate if you’re older than 65 years.
If your organs and tissues are healthy, they can be donated for transplantation.

Myth 2: Your religion may forbid organ donation.
Most religions make allowances for organ donation. It falls under the realm of saving a life or as an act of kindness.

Myth 3: You cannot have an open casket if you’ve donated your organs.
When organs are removed, it is performed as surgery and the body is treated with respect. Since bodies in an open casket are wearing clothes, there would be no sign of any incisions or marks.

Myth 4: Signing my organ donation card is all I need to do.
While a signed organ donation card indicates to the medical staff that you want to be an organ donor, your family is usually consulted and can over-ride your wishes, so it is very important to speak to them and discuss your wishes.

Myth 5: Doctors won’t work as hard to save you if you are an organ donor.
Most of the time, the doctors who are working to save your life won’t even know you are an organ donor. If they do know, this still doesn’t affect your care. Organ donations are handled by different doctors in different groups; they are only called in when a potential donor has been identified and cannot be saved.

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