Posts Tagged ‘organ donor’

Ultimate Gift–Helping Good Doctors Get Better

Tonight is the non-memorial service for my mother who passed away recently. She was crystal clear in her assertion that there be no funeral or service of any kind, so a casual dinner with family and friends is the way we’ll go. We were blessed with Mom’s clarity–in not only her wishes about a service, but also her will, durable power of attorney, “Do Not Resuscitate” and “No Extraordinary Measures” medical mandates, and instructions for how her body was to be handled after her death. Mom wanted her whole body donated to science, delivered to the medical school at a university. After they were done with whatever battery of tests and procedures and explorations and practice surgeries they would do, whatever remains there were would be cremated and spread at sea.

I love this plan of Mom’s, and the generosity behind it. For many folks, the concept would be difficult, and religious beliefs can make a similar decision a conflict…but if your head and heart can be open to the concept of donation—full body, organ, tissue—you will absolutely save lives. There is an enormous shortage of organ donors in our society, so patients who are waiting for life-saving donated lungs, eyes, hearts, kidneys, etc languish on lists that get longer all the time while perfectly viable chances at life are discarded into soil or fire every day. If it doesn’t offend your beliefs or sensibilities, a simple designation on your driver’s license can make the difference–it is an easy administrative task to handle right now to declare yourself a donor. It helps everyone after you are gone if you also support your wishes with a form or letter in your most important documents…but you could change the course of health and wellness for one person or many, after you are gone, by acting today.

Find out more:

Life Legacy Foundation

ScienceCare

Anatomy Gifts Registry

Life Science Anatomical

OrganDonor.gov

Donate Life America

And talk to universities near you. It is easy on you, and it is easy for your loved ones…so that is a gift all around.

Circle of (Donor) Life

anatomyA whole lot about charity involves beliefs and ethics and, occasionally, passing judgement. I don’t stand here (or sit, at the kitchen counter at the moment) in judgement on this issue–but it will likely be clear where my feelings lie.

Organ donation. It’s so damn easy to do. Just a little pink sticker on the back of your driver’s license, or a box checked on the license, or a tick in the box on the back of an ID card. The waiting lists in this country for organ donation are long and almost impossible to get through, so many, many (too many) people die needlessly for lack of available transplant options. I am perhaps at one end of the spectrum–I’m pretty firm in my own belief that you should take every last scrap of me that can be of any use to anyone else once I’m gone. I’m quite certain I’ll be done with it.

I get it if your beliefs or heebie-jeebies don’t allow you to give that gift. But if you haven’t done it just from not quite getting around to it, or you didn’t know how easy it was to designate yourself as a donor…it is easy enough that you should let the computer go to sleep right now and handle it.

I found this news tidbit interesting…Life Sharers is an organization whose catch phrase is “organs for organ donors” and they believe that if you are not a donor yourself, you should not have priority to receive organ transplants from others. There is huge controversy about waiting lists in different places and wealthy people being able to travel to where lists are shorter (the case of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ recent liver transplant and his going to Tennessee to get on a shorter list brought this to light for a whole new group of thinkers). The thought is if organs were given first to registered donors, it would create incentive for more people to register, and widen the pool of available organs…and save a bunch of lives. Makes sense to me.

Life Sharers has created a way for you to prioritize the donation of your organs, not to whoever is on the list, but giving first option to other registered donors (and of course if only non-donors are a match for your organs, they would not be denied). “Directed Donation” is legal in all 50 states (and the process by which Natalie Cole was able to recently get her kidney transplant).

While you’re putting thought into your own decisions–think on this one too. And check the box.