Ochsner Health System Addresses Five Common Organ Donation Myths

Organ donation is a life-saving gift that is often misunderstood

Ochsner Health System Addresses Five Common Organ Donation Myths

NEW ORLEANS – Each April, Ochsner Health System celebrates National Donate Life Month to raise awareness about the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation and to celebrate those that have saved lives through the gift of donation.

According to Donate Life America and the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, more than 114,000 men, women and children are currently waiting for lifesaving organ transplants and in Louisiana, more than 2,000 people are on the waiting list.  

Although organ donation is a life-saving gift, it is often misunderstood. Ochsner Health System breaks down five common myths associated with organ donation:

Myth: I'm too old to be a donor.

Fact: There's no age limit to organ donation. To date, the oldest donor in the U.S. was age 93. What matters is the health and condition of your organs when you die.

Myth: I don't think my religion supports donation.

Fact: Most major religions in the United States support organ donation and consider donation as the final act of love and generosity toward others.

Myth: If they see I'm a donor at the hospital, they won't try to save my life.

Fact: When you are sick or injured and admitted to a hospital, the one and only priority is to save your life. Period. Donation doesn’t become a possibility until all lifesaving methods have failed.

Myth: Rich or famous people on the waiting list get organs faster.

Fact: A national computer system matches donated organs to recipients. The factors used in matching include blood type, time spent waiting, other important medical information, how sick the person is and geographic location. Race, income and celebrity are NEVER considered.

Myth: Somebody could take my organs and sell them.

Fact: Federal law prohibits buying and selling organs in the U.S. Violators can be punished with prison sentences and fines.

“Dispelling myths about organ donation is critically important. Twenty-two people die unnecessarily each day because there are too few organ donors,” said Ari Cohen, MD, MSc, FRCSC, FACS, Abdominal Transplant Surgery Head of the Ochsner Multi-Organ Transplant Institute. “While 95 percent of Americans are in favor of being a donor, only 58 percent are registered. We can make up the difference to help save and change the lives of those waiting.”

In addition to deceased organ donor transplants, patients may also receive organs from living donors. Living donation offers an alternative for those waiting for an organ from a deceased donor and increases the organ supply. In Louisiana, a living donor can donate a single kidney and a segment of their liver.

Since its inception in 1984, the Ochsner Multi-Organ Transplant Institute team of renowned physicians, surgeons, transplant nurses and support specialists have successfully performed more than 7,000 lifesaving liver, kidney, pancreas, heart and lung transplants in both adult and pediatric patients, and through its living donor program for living liver and living kidney transplants.

Celebrate life all year long—register today to be an organ donor today at Ochsner.org/save9.

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Ochsner Health System is Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, healthcare system. Driven by a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate, coordinated clinical and hospital patient care is provided across the region by Ochsner's 40 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and specialty hospitals, and more than 100 health centers and urgent care centers. Ochsner is the only Louisiana hospital recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Hospital” across three specialty categories caring for patients from all 50 states and more than 70 countries worldwide each year. Ochsner employs nearly 25,000 employees and over 4,500 employed and affiliated physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and conducts more than 700 clinical research studies. Ochsner Health System is proud to be a tobacco-free environment. For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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