Debunking the myths around organ donation

By Dr Shyam Varma, Consultant Urologist, Continental Center for Kidney Diseases and Renal Transplant

"Donating your organs or pledging them after youdie, can help people live a healthier and happier life. A single deceased donor can save up to eight people by donating his organs. It is the act of saving lives, however, sometimes myths and misconceptions around organ donation can prevent people from signing up for it. "

Therefore, we decided to debunk some of the most common myths about organ donation and help people see how they may impact and improve someone’s life.

Myth: If I meet with an accident and the hospital finds out I’m a designated donor, the doctors may not try hard enough to save my life.

Fact: A doctor pledges to try their best to save the life of their patients, and will do the same for you irrespective of whether or not you’ve signed up to be an organ donor. They may not even ask you about it while you’re being treated.

Myth: I may not be really dead when they sign my death certificate.

Fact: This is a popular misconception that’s holding people back from becoming organ donors. One thing that you must keep in mind is that a thorough check is done before declaring any patient’s demise. In the case of a registered organ donor, they are given a few more tests than usual to determine if they are truly dead.

Myth: I'm too old to donate.

Fact: There’s no defined age limit for donating organs. Organs that can be successfully transplanted are determined based on strict medical criteria and not a donor’s age. Let the doctors decide whether your organs are functional and suitable for a transplant, instead of prematurely disqualifying yourself.

Myth: Due to my poor health conditions I am not suitable for organ donation.

Fact: Very few medical conditions can affect the health of your organs to an extent that they become unsuitable for donation. If a medical condition affects one organ, other organs and tissues can still qualify for a donation. Therefore, let the experts decide whether or not your organs are healthy enough to be donated.

Myth: My family will have to pay for my organ donation procedure.

Fact: The organ donor's family is not charged for donation. The medical bills cover the costs of all the final efforts made to save the life of the patient, which can be misinterpreted as the cost related to organ donation. The cost of organ removal and transplantation goes to the recipient.

Myth: People of certain communities/castes can't donate.

Fact: There are no policies or regulations that exclude people from being a donor based on what community they come from. The only thing that matters is the health of the organs.

Myth: Organ and tissue donation disfigures the body.

Fact: Donated organs are removed surgically, but it does not disfigure the body or change the appearance of it.

Myth: Only the heart, liver, and kidneys are donatable organs.

Fact: One can donate heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver, and intestines. Other donatable tissues and body parts include eyes, skin, bone marrow, heart valves, and tendons.

Dr Shyam Varma ,
Consultant Urologist
Continental Center for Kidney Diseases and Renal Transplant

Disclaimer: : The views and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author. They do not reflect the opinions or views of the organization.

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