Every hour, one person dies. Not because of an accident, injury or even old age, but because they were unable to receive a vital organ to save their life.
Tad Suwa, a man from Sacramento, CA, has battled kidney disease for the past 15 years, waiting for someone to donate a kidney to him. Each hour he spends on dialysis is another hour he could have spent with his kids and family or working as a firefighter. Instead, he is tied to a machine for several days a week.
“At this point, I just want to get back to work. Just to be back to normal would be huge,” Suwa said. “I don’t think there are any words I can say about how happy I’d be.”
Donating your organs will save the lives of so many people. There are 120,000 people in the United States who, like Suwa, are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Countless lives could be vastly improved or even saved by a generous family or person that says “yes” to organ donation.
Deceased organ donation, according to Donate Life America, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting organ donation, is “the process of giving an organ or a part of an organ, at the time of the donor’s death, for the purpose of transplation to another person.” The process is of no cost to the donor’s family or estate, and donation is not even considered until the patient is considered legally dead.
That being said, circulating rumors state that doctors will not save the lives of organ donors for the purpose of harvesting their organs to save others. However, all doctors take the Hippocratic Oath, which states “I [the doctor] will apply, for the benefit of the sick , all measures [that] are required.”
Unfortunately, not everyone is comfortable with the idea of donating their organs. The very thought of removing an organ and the medical procedures necessary deter potential donors. However, organ removal surgeries are no different from other surgeries, and qualified doctors perform the procedures extremely carefully.
It is definitely hard to think about a part of you being taken away, but most people don’t realize how many lives can be saved through the act of donation. By signing up to become a deceased donor, one person could potentially save eight lives by donating a heart, two lungs, two kidneys, liver, small intestine and pancreas. If all of the 3,400 students at DVHS became organ donors, we could save nearly 30,000 lives.
Many people don’t realize how easy the process is to become a donor. Donate Life America states that 95 percent of Americans support organ donation, but only 58 percent have actually signed up. The process to sign up is surprisingly easy, however. Anyone 13 years or older can sign up at https://donatelifecalifornia.org. You can even register at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) when applying for or renewing your driver’s license or ID.
Thousands of people die each year without the organs they need to survive. By signing up to become a deceased organ donor, you can help save lives.