Thankfully, organ donation rates are lifting in Australia…in fact, in 2013 Austalia reached the highest donation and transplantation rate since records began.
And hopefully, 2014 will see even more of an increase.
However, many people still hold misconceptions about organ and tissue donation, so to finish off the week, My Friday Five lists 5 common myths and the actual reality!
1. Organ donation is against my religion
Most religions actually support organ donation as a generous act.
If you want to know more about it, click here to view a DonateLife fact sheet, outlining the position of many religions on organ donation.
Or check with your spiritual adviser…it is highly likely your religion does support organ donation.
2. My family doesn’t need to know my decision
Statistics show that 49% of Australian don’t know or are unsure of the donation wishes of their loved ones!
However, in Australia, the family will always be asked to confirm the wishes of the deceased, before organ/tissue donation can proceed.
This applies even if the deceased has registered their wishes on the Australian Organ Donor Register.
So it is very important that your loved ones know your decision, whichever it is, so they can confirm or refuse organ donation based on YOUR choice.
3. I won’t be able to donate because I am too old…too young…too sick…
Almost anyone can potentially become an organ donor…your age and medical condition are taken into consideration, but don’t assume that you can’t be a donor.
There are certain medical conditions that do prevent organ donation, but there is every chance that at least some of your organs, and/or tissues will be suitable.
Even my husband who has already had a liver transplant, could potentially be a donor in the future.
4. There won’t be any support for my family
Both the ICU staff and the DonateLife staff will support your family through every step of the process, including after the decision to donate.
They will be on hand to answer any questions, and will allow as much time as possible for your loved ones to say their final goodbyes.
Even if your family decides not to proceed with organ donation, they will still be supported, with the usual bereavement counseling etc provided.
5. My family won’t be able to view my body
The removal of tissue and organs is done by highly skilled surgeons, just like any surgical operation.
The surgeons and other medical staff are very aware of the importance of being an organ donor, and your body will be treated with the utmost dignity and respect throughout the whole process.
If there are spiritual rituals or cultural things you and your family want done…even perhaps playing music at a particular time…then the donor co-ordinator will ensure that it happens.
Every effort will be done to ensure appearance is unchanged….for example, if someone makes an eye donation, a prosthesis is put behind the eyelids to ensure their facial features are not altered.
Therefore, your family will be able to view your body, and have an open casket if they so wish.
I hope you have found the posts over the last week informative, and have helped you to make a decision AND discuss your decision with your family and loved ones.
If my husband’s donor family hadn’t allowed organ donation to go ahead, he wouldn’t be alive and well today….and we thank them every day for their gift of life.