4

votes

Are you an organ donor?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 02, 2012 at 3:46 AM

I've recently been thinking about what it means to be an organ donor, in the context of a healthy life. I'm not sure my organs are in great shape, but I think I should still change my license to donate. Does your religion prohibit organ donation?

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on May 02, 2012
at 08:51 PM

I'm not speaking from a position of knowledge on this, but I'm guessing Jehovah's Witnesses don't partake? They don't allow blood transfusions, and unless a patient submitted tons of their own blood ahead of time, the procedure would be impossible.

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on May 02, 2012
at 04:59 PM

There have been some questionable cases. Regardless of whether or not there is a conspiracy, there are clear incentives to doctors and hospital to perform these surgeries regardless of actual benefit to the recipient. If people could sell organs, well written contracts could end up protecting seller and buyer from a possibly unscrupulous middleman.

9d805605656a3b6d7dc8293e94d173f1

(100)

on May 02, 2012
at 04:34 PM

The transplant doctors are NEVER called until all efforts to save you have been exhausted. Tell your brother to stop watching tv. :)

9d805605656a3b6d7dc8293e94d173f1

(100)

on May 02, 2012
at 04:32 PM

All donations are anonymous unless the donor family reaches/responds to the recipient(s). It's all handled by the transplant coordinator. You can't really pick who you donate to since you have to be match for a person and the transplant list is based on need.

9d805605656a3b6d7dc8293e94d173f1

(100)

on May 02, 2012
at 04:30 PM

You can be a tissue donor if your organs aren't suitable. However, there is no age limit on organ donation. Also, the transplant doctors are never called until your family makes the decision to donate.

Bbd349fe334481d99c091333b87cacb5

(346)

on May 02, 2012
at 03:48 PM

The key word here is "life". Without the donated organ, they wouldn't even have that.

0a6376917fcaee2c65fbf614543f62cb

(438)

on May 02, 2012
at 03:25 PM

I'm an organ donor and on the bone marrow list. I have a cousin who is the recipient of a heart and lung transplant due to cystic fibrosis. He must be 35 by now and is in the best health of his life.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on May 02, 2012
at 10:58 AM

wow, that's deep.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on May 02, 2012
at 05:20 AM

Yeah, make sure whatever decision you make you put it in writing so that it ends up being YOUR choice.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on May 02, 2012
at 05:02 AM

It's not having it on your license that creates the ethical dilemma. They'll have to ask your friends and family, and they have to make the choice. It's better if you make it clear and save them the agony.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on May 02, 2012
at 05:01 AM

No my religion doesn't prohibit anything. I'm all in favor of organ donation and I heard Facebook just made it possible to indicate there whether or not you're an organ donor.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on May 02, 2012
at 04:17 AM

I'm A Negative, so thanks for yer blood!!

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on May 02, 2012
at 04:12 AM

My license lists me as an organ donor, so there's no reason to get heroic on my corpse. :). I'm also a universal blood donor (o neg, you know you want it), so the red cross calls me cons-tant-LY!! :) Be Paleo: Share your blood and guts!

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on May 02, 2012
at 04:05 AM

Well, given my phobia about actually being an immortal/vampir, this has been a concern...

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on May 02, 2012
at 04:00 AM

Thanks for that share, wow, so inspiring!

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17 Answers

6
D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on May 02, 2012
at 03:55 AM

I'm not religious, I'm a registered donor, and I'm on the Nat'l Bone Marrow Registry too (I only mention that last one because it was SO easy to do - I wish I'd known about it sooner). Let the doctors make the call later on about your organs. That's their job. If you end up saving lives, isn't it worth it?

I know a lady who got a heart recently. Seeing her husband get his dying wife back - wow.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on May 02, 2012
at 04:00 AM

Thanks for that share, wow, so inspiring!

4
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on May 02, 2012
at 05:04 AM

As a person that has received blood transfusions (though no organs, knock on wood, only 20!), I think that donating your tissues is wonderful in a sappy circle-of-life, last-gift kind of way. You are literally, on your death, giving life to someone who needs it. Who doesn't think of poetry when you think of that?

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on May 02, 2012
at 10:58 AM

wow, that's deep.

3
7bcdcce584eb132e4c06b8ad2b1d22cc

on May 02, 2012
at 05:18 AM

I may eventually need a liver transplant due to an autoimmune disease (paleo has dramatically improved my symptoms and may allow me to not need one.) I have difficulty thinking of living as a result of another's death. However I think what an impact a gift like that would have on my kids, not losing their father because of the gracious donor & family. I think being a donor is celebrating life and can provide much comfort at the thought that even in death you can continue to impact other lives so wonderfully & positively.

2
F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on May 02, 2012
at 04:56 PM

My husband is an ER doc, and I can promise you that no one is checking about whether or not you're an organ donor when they go to life-saving measures.

(Apologies in advance for being a buzzkill)

That being said, he is also not a fan of organ donation. It's one of those things that sounds like a great idea but in practice isn't about what the public thinks it is. Very few people are actually capable of being an organ donor. If you die of disease or trauma, very little will be of use. You also have to be within striking distance of a hospital with the resources to harvest and perform the transplant. It's a lot of resources to help a handful of people, and the expectations that this has given people need to be called into question. Similar to ambulances: studies have shown that rushing around with lights and sirens does nothing but cause more problems and don't actually lead to better outcomes for patients. Sad but true.

Few people need an organ who haven't already exhausted their own. Chances are very high that they will not change the behaviors that led to the transplant. There are obviously exceptions and yes, it is obviously life-changing for some people. But considering what is involved for this to happen? I dunno folks. If we take a step back, it's really veering into sci-fi territory.

I have nothing against family members or others making a conscious decision to help someone they know or love. I have no doubt that some have benefited immensely. But to systematize it? To advertise it as an unmitigated good? It's just one of those things that we would all do better researching fully before we recommend it.

2
9c2ad0dd2d6b7a3fa184b3001e73577d

(195)

on May 02, 2012
at 04:50 AM

My brother is a bit of a conspiracy theorist and his perspective has always been "they're never going to do everything in their power to save you if your organs could just as easily be handed off to someone else and you seem like a bit of a lost cause." I tell everyone I know that I would want to donate any and all of my organs if it came to that so there is no question, but I don't have it on my license because.. well.. why create an ethical dilemma?

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on May 02, 2012
at 05:02 AM

It's not having it on your license that creates the ethical dilemma. They'll have to ask your friends and family, and they have to make the choice. It's better if you make it clear and save them the agony.

9d805605656a3b6d7dc8293e94d173f1

(100)

on May 02, 2012
at 04:34 PM

The transplant doctors are NEVER called until all efforts to save you have been exhausted. Tell your brother to stop watching tv. :)

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on May 02, 2012
at 05:20 AM

Yeah, make sure whatever decision you make you put it in writing so that it ends up being YOUR choice.

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on May 02, 2012
at 04:59 PM

There have been some questionable cases. Regardless of whether or not there is a conspiracy, there are clear incentives to doctors and hospital to perform these surgeries regardless of actual benefit to the recipient. If people could sell organs, well written contracts could end up protecting seller and buyer from a possibly unscrupulous middleman.

1
870fdea50f2a9f1cd2890c8e22549300

(2056)

on May 02, 2012
at 03:00 PM

It's an interesting question, because I think it highlights the stories we tell ourselves to get ourselves through life.

The fact that you are living a healthy lifestyle may or may not have any bearing on whether any of your organs will be salvageable after your death (although corneas are probably the safest bet, but see below). So putting this in the context of a "healthy life" is...I hate to use the word naive...not quite the right context, in my view. Maybe the better context is a "moral life." Do you do this because it's the right thing to do because it might benefit somebody, with the understanding that you'll just placing a bet that you'll never know the outcome of.

For example, suppose you're in the hospital for routine surgery and you contact C. difficile and it carries you off. Are your vital organs contaminated? I don't know. They sure didn't want any part of my mom's body when she died. I suspect that dying of cancer would degrade the quality of your organs. What if you're HIV positive? I don't think they want your organs. You might be in a car wreck and the violence of the impact might destroy some organs.

Or you could live a very long and healthy life and essentially wear out your organs. I'm only in my early fifties and I have small cataracts in both eyes already. Therefore, I don't know if they would even take my corneas if I died today.

Also, there's just no way that you can be sure that your death will occur in circumstances that will not only preserve your organs but that will make them available for "harvest" in the brief window of time when you don't need them anymore but they haven't yet deteriorated due to your death.

Am I signed up as an organ donor? Yeah, I've been signed up for twenty-five years. Will it ever actually benefit anybody? I will never know.

EDIT: PS. I'm still young enough to be on the bone marrow registry but my apnea (although well-controlled) may disqualify me. I'm assuming that's because of the anesthesia required if one actually is called one to donate. I'll call them today and ask them about this.

9d805605656a3b6d7dc8293e94d173f1

(100)

on May 02, 2012
at 04:30 PM

You can be a tissue donor if your organs aren't suitable. However, there is no age limit on organ donation. Also, the transplant doctors are never called until your family makes the decision to donate.

1
474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on May 02, 2012
at 02:38 PM

Yes. I'm an organ donor. I feel pretty strongly about it as I wouldn't have much use for them at that point. Sort of like a yard sale, may as well give them to someone who needs them.

1
3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on May 02, 2012
at 08:09 AM

Can you decide what type of person your organs go to?

If I could, then I'd become an organ donor. Call me bitter, but not everyone deserves a chance at second life.

9d805605656a3b6d7dc8293e94d173f1

(100)

on May 02, 2012
at 04:32 PM

All donations are anonymous unless the donor family reaches/responds to the recipient(s). It's all handled by the transplant coordinator. You can't really pick who you donate to since you have to be match for a person and the transplant list is based on need.

1
8292546789ca48c32ead34c6e884d059

on May 02, 2012
at 04:01 AM

Donating your organs isn't PALEO!!!! Just joking :) I'm on the organ donate list, though it has been pointed out that life after receiving a donated organ is not pretty...

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on May 02, 2012
at 04:05 AM

Well, given my phobia about actually being an immortal/vampir, this has been a concern...

0a6376917fcaee2c65fbf614543f62cb

(438)

on May 02, 2012
at 03:25 PM

I'm an organ donor and on the bone marrow list. I have a cousin who is the recipient of a heart and lung transplant due to cystic fibrosis. He must be 35 by now and is in the best health of his life.

Bbd349fe334481d99c091333b87cacb5

(346)

on May 02, 2012
at 03:48 PM

The key word here is "life". Without the donated organ, they wouldn't even have that.

0
712c1d3724f9b6ebfc0eb9b64a803692

(158)

on May 02, 2012
at 07:01 PM

I'm an organ donor and an egg donor at the moment. After reading some of these answers, I've decided it's time to start donating blood and bone marrow also!

0
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on May 02, 2012
at 05:12 PM

I've got the donor thing on my license, but I am increasingly worried that surgeries and various other medical procedures don't actually provide what they advertise. Some one I know was lost to complications from cancer treatment. I can't help but think she would have been better off just staying home and not being treated at all. How Doctors Die is an article I've seen recently that tends to confirm my bias. Doctors and hospitals have an incredible pay off when they do these procedures, but outcomes are obviously not guaranteed.

0
9d805605656a3b6d7dc8293e94d173f1

(100)

on May 02, 2012
at 04:23 PM

I've been surrounded by organ donation my whole life (father is a transplant surgeon). It's a wonderful gift you can give. There's no religion that prohibits it.

I could go on and on about the benefits of organ donation, but I'd write a novel about it.

The most important thing you can do is TELL YOUR FAMILY. They, not Facebook, not your driver's license, make the final decision.

If you're on the fence about donating, look at Donate Life America and read some of the stories. It's a completely personal decision, but for many families, knowing that a loved one lives on is often comforting.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on May 02, 2012
at 08:51 PM

I'm not speaking from a position of knowledge on this, but I'm guessing Jehovah's Witnesses don't partake? They don't allow blood transfusions, and unless a patient submitted tons of their own blood ahead of time, the procedure would be impossible.

0
D290734f36a9ae03e3f60e0fa088d7ed

(1304)

on May 02, 2012
at 01:57 PM

Absolutely I am registered, but I'm not a donor yet.

I think you should be allowed to sell organs if you want to. Besides getting more people to register as post mortem donors that is a good way to reduce the wait times for certain organs such as kidneys.

0
6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on May 02, 2012
at 11:03 AM

Yep, I am a donor.

0
0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on May 02, 2012
at 06:47 AM

Yup! - I'm in great health and I'm eventually going to do something stupid that will probably be the cause of my early demise (came reeeal close last year!) I'd hate to be wasted; in fact I'd hate to be buried at all, much rather be tossed in a ditch to be consumed.

Was it here on PH where we had the previous discussion about the natural/Pagan cemetery and states that allow unembalmed burial? If not I'll dig up some links for y'all...

I've heard it can be dangerous to list your blood type online, for the record.

0
A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on May 02, 2012
at 05:04 AM

I like the idea of something being done with my body after I die. I would prefer my friends and family feast on my organs, but as of now seem strangely opposed to that. Weird.

So yes, I'm an organ donor.

-2
1c30a382b13d2a2d8069d894a667ca32

on May 02, 2012
at 06:07 AM

Doctors on call Thanks for such a great discussion. i think every person should donate blood to save the life of someone.

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