Don’t Be Fooled by the Organ Donor Myths!

April 01, 2012

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April is ‘National Donate Life Month; Register to Become a Donor Today

This Sunday is April Fools’ Day, and the state’s two organ procurement organizations – Gift of Life Donor Program and the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) – are imploring Pennsylvanians who are not yet registered organ and tissue donors to disregard the common myths associated with organ and tissue donation. According to a recent survey, one in four Pennsylvanians who are not currently organ and tissue donors believe if they were ever seriously injured, doctors would not try to save their life – and have not become a donor for that reason.

“April Fools’ Day is a day when we try to convince our friends or family to believe absurd things," said Susan Stuart, President & CEO of CORE. “There is nothing more unbelievable as the notion that emergency personnel won’t try to save your life just because you’re a registered organ and tissue donor. Yet that myth, along with others, such as famous people receiving preferential treatment, has real consequences. Too many people die waiting for organs. There are 8,000 people in Pennsylvania waiting for an organ transplant yet only 45-percent of the state’s licensed drivers have registered as donors. Please don’t be fooled by the myths. Take time to learn about organ and tissue donation and register today."

Paramedics, doctors and nurses always do everything possible to save a life, whether you’re an organ and tissue donor or not. “The medical staff trying to save lives is completely separate from the transplant team," said Howard M. Nathan, President & CEO of the Gift of Life Donor Program. “Donation takes place and transplant surgeons are called in only after all efforts to save a life have been exhausted and death is imminent or has been declared."

In addition to April Fools’ Day, April 1st also marks the start of National Donate Life Month (NDLM). Started in 2003, NDLM features an entire month of local, regional and national activities to help encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors, and to celebrate those that have saved lives through the gift of donation.

Earlier this year, Donate Life Pennsylvania unveiled its 2012 organ and tissue donor campaign – a targeted effort to increase the number of registered donors in the state and across the nation. A component of the national effort led by Donate Life America, the overall goal of the campaign is to add 20 million new registered organ and tissue donors nationwide in 2012. Pennsylvania is working to add 150,000 new donors as a part of this outreach.

As part of its 2012 organ and tissue donor campaign, Donate Life Pennsylvania soon will unveil new videos designed to help debunk the myths around donation. The videos will be shared with Pennsylvanians through social media.

“It is our hope that Pennsylvanians will help to educate one another by sharing these videos and dispelling the myths that have become part of urban legend," added Nathan. “The thousands of Pennsylvanians who already are registered donors can themselves become ambassadors, encouraging their family and friends to give the most precious gift of all: life."

The survey data was compiled by The Melior Group of Philadelphia in August 2011.

Editor’s Note: Organ donor families and recipients are available in your area if you are interested in an interview opportunity.