As you read this, 123,000 Americans are on an organ transplant list. A new name is added to the list every 12 minutes.
Last year, 33,000 organs were transplanted to people in desperate need. But there is still a shortage. Nearly 7,000 people die every year for want of a donated kidney, liver, heart or other organ.
Here are 7 facts everyone should know about organ donation.
1. It’s the Gift of Life
Depending on the condition of our bodies when we die, one person who has agreed to be an organ donor can save the lives of as many as 30 other people.
2. Agreeing to Donate is So Easy and So Important
When you renew your driver’s license, just check the organ donor box. That lets authorities know that if you die, you want your organs to save other people. It does not mean doctors won’t do everything they can to save you and it does not mean you can’t have an open casket funeral. (The incisions are sewn up.) For more about signing up to donate, visit OrganDonor.gov
3. Missoula is a Great Place for Organ Transplants
Providence St. Patrick Hospital was honored with the 2018 Donation Excellence Award from the organ procurement organization LifeCenter Network for demonstrating “a level of support for donation that is unprecedented.” LifeCenter Network noted that St. Pat’s excelled in a number of areas related to organ donation, leading to transplants that saved 29 lives last year.
4. The Procedures for Transplants are Buttoned Up
Being a celebrity or having great wealth does not help those in need of a transplant. Strict standards informed by ethical guidelines are employed to ensure a fair distribution of organs to those in need. Organs are matched by blood and tissue type, organ size, medical urgency and geographic location.
5. It’s Much More Than Hearts
Once a heart stops, it cannot be transplanted. But many other organs and tissues can be harvested up to 24 hours after the heart stops: liver, kidney, lungs, pancreas, intestines, corneas, heart valves, bone, nerves and skin. (Skin is used for burn victims and reconstructive surgery. One skin donor can change the lives of up to 100 people.)
6. Donations are Free to Make
The family of the deceased does not incur any costs when donating their organs. Those costs are covered by the recipient’s insurance.
7. It’s Confidential…Unless You Don’t Want it to Be
The identity of the donor is not released to the recipient unless the family of the donor agrees to it. The same is true in reverse: the recipient’s identity is not released to the donor family unless the recipient agrees.
Providence St. Patrick Hospital wants everyone in Missoula to take care of their health. Home to some of the northern Rocky Mountain region’s most advanced health care since 1873, Providence St. Patrick Hospital is committed to you. For more information, call 406-329-5668 or visit Montana.Providence.org/locations-directory/s/st-patrick-hospital.
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