Organ donation is hot stuff! Slogans and advertising yell, “Organs save lives! Register as a donor now!” But surveys show that the majority of people who choose not to be donors have either not thought about the question or are deterred by uncertainty as to what the process means for them.
As a child, I was pretty stubborn. I did not respond well to being told what to do, nor how to think. I was hellbent on figuring things out for myself. Therefore, this article is not designed to tell you that you should become an organ donor. I simply ask that you think for yourself and consider the following question:
What does it mean to YOU to be an organ donor?
People become donors for various reasons; some do it because they’ve seen a friend die while waiting for a transplant, others because they want to give back to society. There are donors who describe it as doing God’s work, and yet others who will do it to save the life of a loved one. What would your motivation be, if you chose to be a donor?
NY Med has featured both living donor transplantation (in which a living person donates a part of their liver or one of their kidneys) and deceased donor transplantation (in which organs are donated based on the person’s prior decision to donate, or the family’s decision). Now ask yourself, what would you do if your dad needed a new kidney? How would your family respond if you were involved in a fatal accident? Would you (and they) consent to your organs being used to help people? What makes you and your family reluctant? You may be asking why I insist on posing such morbid questions at readers who are neither sick nor dying! The simple reason is that engaging with family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers in an open and frank environment allows you to be thoughtful about the facts and clear about your motives. This is far preferable to the middle of the night scenario, when a loved one suddenly passes away or is declared brain dead. To make this decision, when you are utterly devastated by loss and wracked with grief, is extraordinary to me.
Why not think about these issues when you are healthy of mind and body, and able to discuss your wishes with those closest to you?
Don’t be put off by the myths and misconceptions surrounding organ donation. Ask questions, demand answers, do the research and discover your opinion on organ donation.
Make an informed choice that you are comfortable with, but do think about the question.
This is all any fellow human being can ask of you.
Orchestrating Surgery with NY Med’s Dr. Mahendran: Part I
Orchestrating Surgery with NY Med’s Dr. Mahendran: Part II
Republished with the permission of Dr. Arundi Mahendran