Organ donors saving lives

Published 9:44 am Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ohioans say they believe in organ donation but it is time that the actions match the words.

According to a recent study conducted by Anatomical Gift Family Survey, eight out of 10 Ohioans said they would donate an organ when they died.

But the reality is that only slightly more than half of the state’s citizens are actually signed up in the Ohio Donor Registry.

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“The disparity between those who support donation and those who register means that 18 Americans die every day waiting for a life-saving organ transplant that didn’t come,” Marilyn Pongonis, spokesperson for Donate Life Ohio, the coalition of the state’s organ, eye and tissue recovery agencies, said in a prepared release.

Compared to studies done in 2001 and 2005, Ohio has made progress but there is still much work to be done in order to dispel the myths, misinformation and inaccuracies associated with organ donation.

More than 30 percent of respondents said they didn’t think their organs would be useful or that health or age concerns prevented them from donating. In most cases this simply isn’t true.

Sixty six percent of those survey said they have registered, which means there is a significant gap between those who are actual donors and those who just think they are.

Nearly one third of those surveyed said they feel that being listed as an organ donor would sway a doctor’s opinion or diminish efforts to save their life. That couldn’t be farther from the truth as most doctors aren’t even aware of donor status at the time of emergency or illness.

Another 15 percent said that the donation was either against their religion or would prevent an open-casket funeral. Neither is true.

Organ donors aren’t being asked to make a sacrifice but they are giving the gift that will be a legacy long after each of us is gone.