Gift of life: Facts, myths and the how-tos of organ donation
As most 11 News know, longtime reporter Dustin Cuzick
Cuzick battled end-stage kidney disease beginning in his early 30s, a complication stemming from juvenile diabetes. At the time of his death, he had been on an organ transplant waiting list for more than two years.
For his family and friends, the idea that he
get the life-saving organ seemed impossible. Tragically, he became a statistic:
At the time of his death, Cuzick was one of more than 113,000 on the national transplant waiting list. The need for organs far outweighs the number available. According to data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), in 2017, 115,000 people were on the waiting list. The number of available donors: 16,473. Adding to that urgency: the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) says only 3 in 1,000 people die in a way that allows for organ donation.
Cuzick came close a couple of times, including a phone call at the end of June telling him he may have a match. That donation ultimately went to another, equally urgent recipient, and Cuzick passed away 12 days later.
Some people may not think about it. Others may not know how to sign up. And still others may have heard misinformation about the process. Here are some common myths about organ donation:
One person can potentially donate up to eight organs, according to HRSA. Meaning, even if you have an illness that compromises some organs, you may still be able to donate other organs. Despite his need for a new kidney and pancreas, Cuzick signed up to be an organ donor himself, and at the time of his death, doctors believed they would be able to pass certain organs to someone else. Sign up and let the transplant team decide after you die.
The oldest donor in the United States to date was 93 years old.
According to Penn Medicine, this is the leading reason people say they won't sign up to be a donor. It's also a myth. Doctors will do everything to save your life first. Organ donation is only considered when
life-saving measures have failed.
A patient will not be considered for organ donation until they are declared brain dead. Even after that, it is up to the family to decide to remove their loved ones from life support.
An open casket is possible for most donors, according to donation professionals.
Roman Catholicism, Islam, most branches of Judaism and most Protestant denominations support organ donation.
It does not cost your family a single cent for you to donate. Costs of organ removal go to the transplant recipient.
There are two registries: state and national. For your state registry, all it takes is a simple check on a form at the DMV or by signing up online
To put your name on the national registry,
According to Donate Life America, both of these registries are checked by donation professionals at the time of a donor's death. The most recent donor registration will be the one honored.
A living donor is a person who donates an organ while still living. Organs that can be donated by a living person include a kidney, lung, or a portion of the liver, pancreas, or intestine. More information on becoming a living donor
(Source: American Transplant Foundation)