Health Report: Health professionals discuss myths around organ donations
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Organ donations are an integral part of the healthcare system, but according to healthcare professionals, there are many myths around the process that deter people from registering.
According to Jenna Pringle, Senior Communication Specialist for LifeCenter Northwest, one of the largest myths is that patient care may be neglected if they are a donor.
“One of the things that we really try to educate folks on is that your patient care is never affected by whether or not you’re a registered organ donor,” Pringle explained. “Whenever you’re admitted to a hospital, the doctor’s main priority is just to save your life. Organ donation is never considered until all life saving measures have failed.”
Another myth someone may believe is that certain conditions prevent them from being a viable donor, such as previous conditions or even age.
“Sometimes they are lifelong sufferers of diabetes or something else,” Pringle elaborated. “We really encourage people to just stay on the registry and let a healthcare professional make that assessment when that time comes. Hopefully you’ll be able to provide that very rare gift of donation. Even last year was a huge year for older donors in the U.S.”
Others may have concerns regarding funeral arrangements, or if donation may conflict with their faith. But according to Pringle, there are few chances for conflict. We just like to let people know that your decision to be a donor will never affect your desire for an open casket funeral. Our medical care team takes the utmost care of all of our donors to make sure that’s possible for your family, so that should never be an issue. The other concern that people have too is that their religion isn’t compatible with a donation of their organ or tissue. All major religions, most major religions actually consider donation as a very compassionate gift to your fellow neighbors, so that’s always something that we encourage people to talk about with their leaders so they’re not just ruling it out automatically, but they have those conversations - because one decision could save the lives of your friends, your family, your neighbors, and completely change their lives.”
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