Friday, May 3, 2013

A Silent Epidemic: Dying While Waiting for an Organ Donation

By Elizabeth Flores

Organ donation in America has become an epidemic and for those waiting on a transplant, one donation can save their life. In this country 117,847 people are currently waiting for an organ and although some cases are severe enough to make it to the top of the list, sometimes the organs do not come in time. 

Organ donation is one of those things that most Americans pass by without giving it much thought, some have even said that they can’t be bothered with checking one small box at the DMV. Donating an organ is something we don’t always think of because it brings up questions about our mortality. People are added to the wait list for an organ every ten minutes but that doesn’t compare when on average 79 people actually receive a transplant daily. Due to the shortage of donated organs, eighteen people die each day because they do not get the required organs they need to stay alive. There are some who prefer to not get an organ transplant for different reasons, religion being the most important one, but in fact organ transplantation has become an accepted medical treatment for end–stage organ failure.

Sometimes people do not respond to statistical facts in correlation to a controversial topic such as organ donation but the key thing to remember is that each number is a living, breathing person just like you except in a great need for your help. Organ donation represents a form of a legacy; those that leave this world fatally early are probably the best candidates for organ donations. A life lost is tragic but something great can come out of every death and I truly believe that organ donation should be a topic that more and more of us should be educated on. If more of us were educated on organ donation and how it works, we would be less likely to be having a shortage in organ donation.

Some ways in which you can help this cause if by making a commitment to become an organ and tissue donor. This is one step that can make a huge difference. You can also become more involved by signing up on your state’s donor registry.

Becoming more informed on organ donation is the single most important thing when deciding to become an organ donor. We all need to be knowledgeable enough where we can inform and educate others. Something that has been making a big buzz in the social media outlets is Facebook’s ingenious idea of adding organ donation as a tab on your Facebook page. It is a great new idea that allows you to advertise your donor status just as you would your birth dates and school information.

It is being said that by Facebook adding this as part of their new layout it might actually inspire others to sign up at their local DMV offices as well as make organ donation a more casual process with less legal fees leading to more organ donations. Most people do not know the legal process that takes place when an organ is donated but in fact there is much legal paperwork. If you are an organ donor and your family decided that they do not want to donate your organs, in fact they can because they have the final say which is why this is a tricky situation. 

There are many things to consider when deciding to be an organ donor, but one thing that should always be in your mind is that this is an amazing thing and this should be less about thinking of your mortality and more about the thought of saving a life. One simple action can change someone’s life and it all starts with you Take that step and make a difference.

Elizabeth Flores is a sophomore at Saint Thomas Aquinas College and will be graduating with her Bachelor’s in communications in 2015. After graduation she plans to pursue a Masters in Journalism as well as hopefully be working in her field of choice, loving what she does everyday.

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