Ask the Doc: Why Should I Become an Organ Donor?
By Rodrigo Vianna, MD, PhD
There is no greater gift than the gift of life. Organ and tissue donation gives thousands of people each year – many of them close to death – a second chance at living.
Making the decision to become an organ donor often stirs up a mix of emotions, including fear and uncertainty. Common misconceptions and myths about organ donation can cause some people to hesitate or choose not to do it. But it is important to educate yourself and base your decision on facts, such as these:
- If you are an organ donor and you suffer a traumatic injury, stroke, or aneurysm, doctors will make every attempt possible to save your life. There is no conflict between saving lives and using organs for transplant.
- No major religion opposes organ donation. If you have questions regarding your faith’s position, consult your religious leader.
- Costs related to organ, tissue, and eye donation will be covered by the donor programs; the cost is not the responsibility of the donor family.
- Organ, tissue, and eye donation is only done following the declaration of death by a doctor not involved in transplantation.
- Anyone can be considered for donation, regardless of their age and medical history.
People die each day waiting for transplants because of the shortage of available organs in the United States. However, one organ donor has the ability to make a profound difference by saving the lives of up to eight critically ill people, and tissue donors can save or improve the lives of hundreds more.
Becoming a donor is simple: you can register online or at a driver’s license office. If you sign up, remember to share your decision with your family and friends.
To learn more about organ donation or to register online, visit DonateLifeFlorida.org. For more information about the Miami Transplant Institute and the Living Donor Kidney Program, visit MiamiTransplant.org.
Rodrigo Vianna, MD, PhD, is the director of the Miami Transplant Institute and chief of liver, intestinal and multivisceral transplant. Dr. Vianna is one of the world’s most experienced multi-organ transplant surgeons.