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In modern society, death is not such an unusual thing. It occurs as often as the moon rises to illuminate the night. Because of this persistence, we have grown accustomed to the deaths that surround us and have failed to recognize the fact that these deaths can be prevented. There are many preventable deaths that occur every day. In fact, the CIA World Factbook estimates that the death toll for the year 2009 was 8.37 out of every 1,000 people. This death toll is outrageous, considering the idea a vast amount of these lives could have been saved. Organ Donation is one of the many ways an innocent life could be prolonged. The article, “Organ & Tissue Donation- Survival Rates” from the New York Organ Donor Network, Inc. stated, “As of the end of 2005 there were 163,631 persons living with a functioning organ transplant in the United States. This number reflects an increase of 2.1% over the prior year and a 1.6-fold increase since 1997.” Despite the slight increase of surviving transplants in the past two decades, there are many instances where more lives could have been saved. I have found that there are several reasons as to a hesitation in donation.

There have been a few methods established by the government for which citizens are offered the option to donate. Most states have their own website for their inhabitants to resister for donation. This method is not complicated, but requires internet access to resister. There is also the more common method, which is the option to resister when applying for a driver's license or state ID. This system is, in my opinion, extremely flawed, but in a way where it goes unnoticed. The flaw in this method for registration is not that it is optional, but rather that the option is phrased in a manor in which the donor must make an effort to donate rather than to not donate. In other words, a person registering for a license has to check, “YES! I want to be an organ and tissue donor.” in order to have their organs and tissue donated. The reverse of that would be to have the license box say “NO! I do not want to be be an organ and tissue donor.” If the option were to be rephrased, then the person's lack of effort to check the box would not result in the loss of innocent lives. However, even if a citizen wanted to become a donor there are still other aspects to why they may hesitate.

Many healthy individuals who are eligible to be donors do not donate for several reasons. A vast number of these reasons are due to lack of information on the basic facts of organ donation. If potential donors are concerned about donating, there are many articles on organ donation that contain information involving their concerns. Most of these reasons for not donating, however, have been proven myth and are therefore irrelevant. One of the myths is the donor's fear that their caretaker will not work as hard to save their life so that their organs may be used to save another's life. This is strongly false. The doctors or emergency staff do everything in their power to save their current patient's life, not the life of another. Another individual concern is that the potential donor is not of legal adult age and is unable to make the decision to donate. This is partially true, when considering the legal aspect, but the minor's parental guardian(s) are allowed to authorize their child's eligibility to donate. Another reason for hesitation is that the donor is unsure if donating would be violating his or her religion. In reality, organ donation is consistent in the beliefs of most religions. Some of which include Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam and most branches of Judaism, as stated by Mayo Clinic Medical Information and Tools for Healthy Living. If the donor is unsure if their religion tolerates donation, the website OrganDonor.gov provides religious views on organ donation and transplantation by denomination. Thus stating, that there is no honest excuse to not participate in saving a life.

Another reason for hesitation would be that the potential donors lack important information as to the actual process for donation, living donors especially. People who choose to donate before their death have a greater risk of casualties. However, on the homepage of OrganDonor.Gov, estimates that 6,000 live donations take place every year. Living donors may be faced with the complication as to which organs can be donated. Living donors can donate one of their two kidneys and/or one of two lobes of their liver because of the liver's regenerating abilities. They also state that it is possible to donate a lung or part of a lung, part of the pancreas, or part of the intestines and still continue to live, even though these organs do not regenerate. This is possible because your body does not require the entire organ because the remaining portion is still fully functioning. It is also possible for a living donor to donate a heart, but only when the donor is receiving a replacement heart in return. Full heart transplants such as these are usually accompanied by a lung from the same donor. Potential donors also fear their suitability to donate as well as the risks involving living donation. Usually, living donor should be between the ages of 18 and 60, but could potentially vary. Donors should also be in good health and shouldn't have records of diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, kidney disease, or heart disease. As for the risks, the recipient's risk factor virtually doesn't exist because the transplant will be life saving. The donor, however, does face the risk of an unnecessary major surgical procedure and recovery from the operation. Other side effects may occur, but an evaluation would take place before the donation to evaluate the donor's potential risks, both physically and emotionally. Nevertheless, they're saving a life.

Death's ever persistent presence can be minimized with the aid of organ donation. Hopefully, it can be concluded that the amount of people dying verses the amount of people who may be saved by donations is, indeed, significant. Nevertheless, every year people needing donations die because of the lack of donors. Several points have been made as to why this lack of donors is detrimental and irrelevant. The first being that the government's method for displaying the option of donation is flawed, that by creating more effort to donate than to not, no matter how minimal the effort to check the box. The second reason being that potential donors lack the proper information to soothe their concerns and the last being that, in order to donate, the donor must be in an extremely healthy physical condition. These reasons have all been proven irrelevant, so there is no legitimate reason why not to donate. I challenge you to let the unfortunate benefit from your misfortune; go save a life.





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