Reality behind organ donation myths
From Spotlight on Health Mar./Apr. 2007
Myth: If I’m carrying a donor card, or if “donor” is on my driver’s license, and I’m admitted to a hospital, they may let me die so they can take my organs.
Fact: No. There is no conflict between saving lives
and recovering organs and tissue for transplants.
The doctors and nurses who try to save your life
the same specialists involved in transplantation. Donation occurs only after all life-saving measures have failed and the patient has
Myth: My family will have to pay for the cost of my donation.
Fact: There is no cost to the donor family for donation. All expenses related to organ and tissue donation are assumed by the recovery organization and passed on to the transplant recipients and their health insurers. However, funeral expenses and hospital costs not associated with the donation remain the family’s responsibility.
Myth: My body will look different if I donate my organs.
Fact: Donation is a surgical procedure. The body’s natural appearance is maintained. As in any other medical procedure, the body is treated with great respect and dignity.
Myth: I’m too old to donate. Nobody would want my organs.
Fact: There’s no defined cutoff age for donating organs. Organs have been successfully transplanted from donors in their 80s. The decision to use your organs is based on strict medical criteria, not age. Doctors decide at your time of death whether your organs and tissues are suitable for transplantation.
Health care directives
“A health care directive is an excellent place to indicate your organ donation wishes,” said Karen Kleinschmidt, R.N., Patient Care Support Educator at St. Cloud Hospital. “If your wishes are known, it makes it easier for your family.”
If you want more information about health care directives, please contact your health care provider, your attorney, or call Minnesota Board on Aging’s Senior LinkAge Line® at 1-800-333-2433. A suggested health care directive form is available at www.mnaging.org.