Myths around organ donation are merely excuses


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Kellsie Kennedy

The Atlantic website reports in one article that, “…about 45 percent of American adults are registered organ donors…”  This statistic might make it seem as though there are plenty of organ donations. However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website reports that “…only about 3 in 1,000 can actually become donors when they die…” which negates the belief that many people hold that there are plenty of others who will be able to donate in place of those who do not.

It seems that an increase in education and awareness about organ donations would result in a spike in registered organ donors. Similar tactics almost completely eradicated smoking cigarettes (that is until e-cigs, but that’s a different article for a different time).  

We rarely hear about the details of the donation process. Maybe this is because it seems like there is not much to the donation. A person dies and their organs are placed inside someone else, right? Yet, without beginning a candid conversation about organ donating, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is allowing for myths to develop.           

The Atlantic also reports that “studies have also shown that the less people trust medical professionals, the less likely they are to donate.”  

This leads to many people believing that doctors will not do everything they can to save a person if he or she is an organ donor. Myths such as these are repeated by fictional shows such as M*A*S*H and Grey’s Anatomy.          

Even if the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services does not take this approach, the most important responsibility of a citizen in a democratic society is to be informed about a multitude of issues. If we do not already know about an issue, it is critical that we do research in order to understand the reality of situations. With the wide-spread availability of the internet, this is easier than ever.           

Others argue that donating organs goes against the practices of Christianity. This is particularly confusing because Christianity functions under the doctrine of loving God and loving your neighbor. What can be more loving than giving someone your organs when you are no longer using them?           

In reality, the myths surrounding this topic are empty. It boils down to excuses. I think the real reason some do not want to be organ donors is because they have to face the fact that they will eventually die. This denial does no one any good, but it does grant someone else life if we accept it. I hope that this National Organ Donation Day, you will reevaluate any excuses you’ve made in the past and make the decision to be an organ donor. 

Find more information about being an organ donor here