So Why the Rush To Become An Organ Donor?

Here is one good reason.  7,000 people die each year because there are not enough organs and right now as you read this; over 100,000 people are on the waiting list. 


Let us imagine you are watching a video on your I-Pod.  The scene is of a family in a loved one’s hospital room.  The family has been told there is no brain activity — the patient is brain dead.  The grief is so intense you can feel it through the device in your hand.  The Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) coordinator is on hand.  Her job is to comfort and console while at the same time asking the family if they would like to donate their loved one’s organs.  The question must be asked because the patient never made his wishes known.  On the wall, a clock with a second hand tics.  It is an unobtrusive but constantly interruptive reminder that another patient in another hospital is waiting for the organ that will help him live — and time is of the essence – tick, tick…


This scene plays itself out every day in hospitals around the country.  I know not what happened in my case, but when I got the phone call saying a heart might be available, I was raced to the hospital and in my daze gave little or no thought to events that had already transpired and were still unfolding.  Somewhere a grieving family told an OPO coordinator that they wished to donate their loved one’s organs. 


In a calm, almost serene manner, the OPO Coordinator informs the hospital of the decision and immediately like a finely tuned machine a highly complex but coordinated system begins to unfold.  With the notification of an organ availability several people and groups of people must spring into action; surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, drivers and pilots not to mention aircraft and ground transportation are at the ready.  In one hospital, the recovery team works to obtain the organs and keep them healthy while in another hospital a transplant team is preparing the patient to receive the new life-giving organ.   


I am sure to many this all sounds easy and perfected, but there is one weak link in this chain — the donor and whether he or she has made their decision clear and known to the family.  If you want to be an organ donor and do not make your wishes known, you are probably sentencing someone else to death.  It is at the time that brain death is declared that many families not knowing the patients wishes, refuse to donate.  Not because they are mean spirited but usually because in the confusion of the moment, the grief and the feeling of powerlessness many well intentioned people just say “No.”  Do you want to put that extra burden on your family, probably not. 


If you want to be an organ donor then do not wait a second longer, do it right now.  Go to Donate Life America and sign up now.  Yes, I said now!


As you sign on to Donate Life America think about this:

Here is a confounding fact that probably reveals an extremely high level of procrastination about when people will “sign up.”   According to Donate Life America:

      90% of Americans say they support donation, but only 30% know the essential steps to take to be a donor.  And –very few of those people take the necessary steps in time to save a life.

 “But wait!”  As the commercial says, “There’s more!”

      Almost 100,000 men, women and children currently need life-saving organ transplants.

      Every 12 minutes another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list.

      An average of 18 people die each day from the lack of available organs for transplant.

Have you signed up yet?


Please read and comment on my Organ Donation and Transplantation blogs on

Also…visit my Facebook site, Organ Transplant Patients, Friends and You at  OR — my Facebook home page  

Posted on July 22, 2008, in Organ Donation. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Bob, I hope you are doing OK. When I don’t see your prolific words for a while, I get nervous.



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