Over the last 24 hours, I have read a lot about organ donation, the for and against. So, I thought, I would share my thoughts on the subject too.
Organ donors are few and far between. Many of those on the waiting list don’t have long to live. Believe it or not, there is a point of no-return in the process. That’s when they’re too sick to receive a donor because the operation would kill them.
Personally, I only know one person who has received an organ donation. It was before I met him. Sadly, his body rejected the kidney, and he has been kept alive with dialysis ever since. The other sad point is he is unable to receive another because once your body rejects it, it will reject all donations. It must be incredibly sad to know that there is no second chance from there. Only time. Time to make the most of life while you can. This man is one of the bravest and loving-life people I know. He cherishes every moment of every day and has an awesome wife by his side cherishing it with him.
My partner’s grandfather is currently in renal failure and this is particularly hard because he’s been informed by medical professionals he is too old to receive a new kidney. Also, he wouldn’t survive the operation. So, every week, twice a week, my partner’s mother, his grandfather and his grandmother make the trip to hospital for dialysis. It makes for a very long day – almost 12 hours all up between picking up and dropping off of the grandparents who are both frail, the travel to and from the hospital, finding parking, the waiting around for hours while the dialysis takes place, and making sure everyone eats. Then there are the specialist appointments on days inbetween all that. His mother has barely any energy left for the other everyday life things such as cleaning and working a full-time job because the bills aren’t put on hold and life goes on outside the on-going necessity of keeping a treasured family member alive. My partner tries to be there at least once a fortnight (but aims for once a week) to help with the exhausting trips in order to give his mother some respite.
On one of the sites I am a member of, a person put up a post asking who would or wouldn’t organ donate and why? Albeit, there has been much activity on their post.
Most people are saying they would, but there are some saying they wouldn’t. I respect both sides of the debate. Everyone has the right to chose what happens to their body when they die. So, a personal decision to not have their own body’s organs donated is very much within those rights.
One reason I read was they didn’t want to give their organs to strangers. I also read that to mean they would do it for family though. That’s ok. That’s their choice and right. However, I wonder if they realise that most organ donations are from strangers.
Another one noted it is against their religion.
Yet another stated one of the reasons holding her back was the possible mistreatment of her donated organ. Even though there is a chance the donated organ could be mistreated, the majority of recipients don’t. They know all too well how precious life is.
Some people indicated they were blood donors and others who were under 18 stating they were signing up on their 18th birthday to do so.
Then it came to my mind that a person doesn’t have to be dead in order to donate an organ. A person can donate a kidney, bone marrow and blood as well as other blood products. People are willing to accept these donations, and I bet those saying no to organ donations from their own body would not deny a blood transfusion. It is because that process doesn’t involve dying to be able do it.
There are people out there who want to donate but aren’t allowed for numerous reasons. One of my exes wants to donate blood, but has been denied due to a medical condition which he suffered as a young child.
So, why is organ donations from someone deceased body so hard?
Despite being on the organ donor register and having it noted on your driver’s licence, in the event of a fatality in an accident, your family can override your wishes. This happens often. I believe it is because they imagine their loved one being chopped up like some piece of meat and can’t bear the thought, with one lady on the comment stream of the post saying as much relating her comment to that of her child.
Also, maybe they have the belief that an open casket viewing would not be possible and would be obvious to others, so effect the way their loved one appears to themselves and mourners. They don’t want their features to be damaged.
All of those reasons are the choices of those people and that is ok.
I can only imagine what it is like and sincerely hope that I never have to experience such a serious decision. Although, I like to think I wouldn’t hesitate to say yes to permitting the donation of my loved one’s organs. Even of my child.
I’m on the organ donation register and have it marked on my driver’s licence that medical professionals can take all usable organs in the event of my death. I remind my family of my wishes regularly and discuss the topic with my children so they understand the importance of organ donations. It is my hope they will respect my wishes if the time was ever presented to them.
The body of the deceased is handled with dignity and respect. After all, the whole process is intensely emotional for everyone involved – not just for the families affected, but for the doctors, nurses, surgeons, and emergency personnel. Besides any obvious injuries from the accident, the donor’s body looks totally normal to the person they are and no one can tell that any organs were taken for donation.
The hardest part of organ donation is doing it for a stranger. We would do it for a family member in a heartbeat. But for someone we don’t know, that is a different story. What if the person lying on the table, dying of organ failure, was your child, since everyone on a waiting list is someone’s child? Would you be praying desperately for a miracle? Or would be denying an organ if one presented itself as a match to save their life?
The thought of someone taking the organs of my child is not a pleasant one. So, I 100% get it. But the knowledge that up to 8 people can be given a second chance at life makes that thought more bearable. After all, it is their heart, lungs, kidney, liver and whatever else living in another human being. They’re not totally gone from this earth. Part of them lives on in the flesh.
No one wants to die. Everyone wants to live. You couldn’t give a greater gift next to choosing to lay down your life in a split second to save another from tragedy.
If you haven’t already, you can register for organ donation by clicking on the link below.
DonateLife week is Sunday 29th July to Sunday 5th August 2018. You will find a link below for more information.