The Associated Press reported a story Monday of a 16-year-old girl who died because she didn’t receive a liver transplant. It wasn’t the health care system’s fault; the girl could not get a donor in time.The 16-year-old girl is not alone. As of 5:30 p.m., 91,048 people were waiting for organs, according to www.optn.org, the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network’s Web site. According to the same Web site, from January 2005 to November 2005, there were 13,333 donors, and in that time period, there were 25,952 transplants. The need for transplants is about five times that of actual donors – and for no good reason.
Although it’s unfortunate that someone has to die in order for another life to be saved, deaths still occur – it’s inevitable. If someone dies under uncontrollable circumstances, at least that person’s loved ones have a chance to prevent another’s death.
Some say doctors might not try as hard to save a donor’s life. Have more faith in the medical system. Doctors call transplant surgeons after the person dies, not before, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Web site.
Another opposition to donating organs is that it will disfigure the body. News flash – the body decomposes after death. Even if disfiguration still deters some, removing organs is like any other surgery; doctors take out the organs and sew the incisions, according to Health and Human Services.
Others believe only influential people receive the organs. According to the government, recipients are ranked based on urgency, waiting time, geographical location, blood type, and tissue type and size.
The saddest tragedy is when a person wishes to be a donor but does not make his or her family aware. Family ultimately decide whether organs will be given after death. Signing a donor card or a donor’s sign on a driver’s license is not enough.
Consult your family and become an organ donor. You just may save multiple lives.
-Associate editor Adrienne Lang for the editorial board