MOUNT VERNON — April is Donate Life Month, a time to learn more about the opportunity each person has to give the “gift of life.” It’s also a time to bring awareness to the need to donate organs and tissue.
“The need is real,” said Rachel Lewis, spokeswoman for the Lifeline of Ohio, a Donate Life organization. “At an alarming rate, the national waiting list for organ transplant is increasing. ... The need is urgent. The sad fact is 18 men, women, and children die every day because the transplant didn’t come in time. The tragedy is completely preventable if more people registered as donors.”
Lewis explained studies have shown that there are many barriers and misconceptions Ohioans have toward donating.
“We found of the people who said they would not like to be donors pulled in the survey, 31 percent of them said they thought they were too sick or too old. There is no age limit to donation and past illness is not a predictor of ability to donate,” she said. “Everyone is encouraged to sign up. ... Let the medical professionals worry about whether you are able to donate at the time of death.”
A doctor’s motives were also questioned by those completing the survey.
“The most common concern we heard in that same survey is 28 percent of people who responded said that they thought doctors were more interested in obtaining organs than saving lives. That is absolutely not true. Doctors main priority is the life that is in front of them, and someone’s status as a donor is not considered until after everything possible has been done to save their life and death has been declared. When you register (to be a donor), your name goes in the Ohio donor registry and doctors don’t have access to.”
If you have questions about organ or tissue donation, contact Lifeline of Ohio at (800) 525-5667 or visit their Web site at www.lifelineohio.org.
Ohioans can also register to become a donor at the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle agencies or through Lifeline of Ohio Web site.
“We encourage people that want to be donors to sign up in the Ohio donor registry because it is a first-person advance directive, meaning it is a legal declaration of your intent to donate. So if you register, and donation is possible at the time of your death, you can be a donor,” said Lewis.