Organs

            Visualize
being on a death bed, just waiting for what seems like forever. The opportunity
for survival is not given until the phone rings. The phone is the only source
where a sense of hope can be delivered. Such a hope, being that an organ match
has been found for a patient. But what happens if the phone never rings? Or
what if it takes too long for the phone to ring and the patient dies? With the
rapid increase of organ demand, patients are having great difficulty finding a
match with such a scarce amount of organs available. Nine out of 10 Americans
support organ donation, but only 38% are actual organ donors (U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services). The reason why the percentage is so low is
because citizens are under the misconception that by checking the organ donor
box on the driver’s license application will make them an organ donor. In
addition to that however, drivers will either have to go online to register or
fill out a registry application. In order to increase the number of registered
donors, the government must automatically register licensed drivers as an organ
donor to decrease the limited supply of organs.

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Organ donation
is the voluntary act of giving an organ to another after or before death.
According to the Health Department of Human Services, organ transplants have a
success rate of 82%. Additional sources such as the Mayo Clinic also state that
one organ donor is able to save up to 8 lives. According to the U.S. Department
of Health and Human services, there are approximately 116,653 people waiting
for an organ, while 18 people will die each day while waiting for an organ.
People of all ages regardless of race or gender are able to donate organs after
death. Patients that die from various diseases may still be eligible to donate their
organs; depending on the functionality and condition of the patient, the organs
may still be unaffected from a disease that a patient has been diagnosed with.

In order to be
an organ donor, citizens must not only sign up at the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD)
but also register either online or fill out an application. Having a sticker on
a driver’s license will not suffice to be an organ donor. If citizens are not registered as an organ donor,
then family members will have the opportunity to override the deceased’s with
of donating their organs after death.

The newly
formed process of organ donation will solely revolve around the contract that
all licensed drivers will be required to sign. There will be two lines
available: one line is the consent to donation of organs, while the other line
is the non-consent line to donating organs. The contract is legally binding, so
no family member(s) will be able to override the deceased’s wishes.  However, when it comes to students obtaining
a driver’s license, there are some procedures that would be different. Such
procedures include the student’s legal guardian approving the organ donation
contract. However, if the student were to change their minds once they turn 18,
the process is still reversible.

While many
Americans do support organ donation, the small percentage of people that don’t
support it are often times not fully educated on organ donations. One of the
most misconceptions about organ donation is doctors who are aware of their
patient being an organ donor will not work as hard to save the individual’s
life. According to Mayo Clinic, the top medical facility in the United States
explains,”. Therefore, doctors who are in charge of organ
transplantation and the actual doctor who is assigned the patient’s diagnosis
are two different doctors. In addition to that, many fear that during the organ
transplant, the patient may not actually be dead yet. However, many medical
research facilities all perform the same procedures. That
procedure being that if a patient was to be a registered organ donor,
additional tests would be performed in order to further confirm the death of
the patient; no additional costs would be applied to the family from the extra
testing. Another common misconception with organ donations is by being an organ
donor; an open casket will not be permitted at the viewing. By being an organ
donor, there is absolutely no stipulation that does not enable an open casket.
Doctors are specialized in organ transplant procedures, so the incisions that
are performed will be carefully stitched back, which would not make an open
casket option impossible. Another false belief that many people have is they
are too old to donate their organs, so why bother becoming an organ donor? All
organs tend to vary in age, depending on the lifestyle and dietary habits of
each person, there have been successful transplants ranging from seventy to
eighty year old patients. Therefore, only doctors can determine the eligibility
of an organ for transplant, so it is not necessary to completely rule out being
an organ donor because of an age stipulation. Patients are also under the
conclusion that by donating organs after death, the family will be charged an
additional bill for the transplant. According to the Mayo Clinic, there will
absolutely be no charge to the deceased’s family for any organ transplant of
any kind. The only costs that the family will have to pay for everything that
went into attempting to save the donor’s life.

Data was
collected in 2011, and it came out to be that the minority group had the lowest
percentage of organ donors. Approximately 33% of American organ donors are of
African, Asian, and Hispanic descent (News 8 WTNH). While religion may play a
large factor in organ donation, another common role is the distrust with
doctors. From the early 1900’s to the late 1980’s African Americans were being
treated for syphilis. However, doctors used the African American patients for
medical research about the disease. Following that incident, the majority of
citizens, particularly African Americans, struggled with trusting doctors
again. Because of that unfortunate history within the African American
community, the number of minority donors has suffered significantly (Jill
Ellefson University of Wisconsin Hospitals).

Of the 116,653
people waiting for an organ, approximately 23,824 are African Americans, 13,441
are Hispanics, and 5,466 are Asians. With all minority groups combined, that
makes up about 50% of the people on transplant waiting list (MOTTEP). While
organ matches can be found between different ethnicities, it is more common to
find a match with same races due to the similarities in blood and tissue types.

165 people had
participated in a survey where their knowledge of organ donation was
researched. The results for the number of people registering for organ
donations were only 3% of Hispanics, 0% of African Americans, and 12% were
Caucasian.

Proposing that
all licensed drivers are to be automatically registered as an organ donor may
make others believe that the government may be intervening too much with their
lives. However, the government is in no way intervening or abolishing the
citizens’ choice, but the government is simply making it easier for the citizens.
If citizens were to choose to opt out of being registered as an organ donor,
then they will easily have that option. 
In addition to that, not only is there a high demand for organs, but
finding a match is also very difficult, especially when there is a very
limiting amount of organs available right now. For example, finding a match for
the heart will have to be done very quickly. The life of the heart will only
last approximately four to six hours upon a person’s death. Several tests would
have to be performed, while doctors would have to parallel with these tests to
find the patient that needs the organ the most. With such a small number of
hearts available, doctors struggle greatly in finding the perfect match for all
of their patients. However, if the number of organs that are available to
doctors were to increase, then the number of lives that could be saved would
also increase significantly.

With the rapid
increase in technology, society has been able to be more productive with a less
amount of effort. Larger and faster databases have been created, therefore the
storing of organ data will be able to be stored and matched efficiently. With
the process of organ donation simplified, citizens will be more likely to
donate their organs. For example, voting ballots are now being sent home to
citizens so they would have the comfort of voting in the comfort of their own
home. After they’re done filling out the ballot, they can send it back to the
voting office. With the new option of voting, there has been a great increase
in the number of voters. Therefore, once citizens
consent to the organ contract, government workers can scan the contract into
the government database, where a match will immediately be searched. With such
an easy process licensed drivers will be more likely to be an organ donor.
Therefore, taking advantage of technology is a great step to increasing the
number of organ donors.

Many anti organ
donors also bring up that by providing citizens with the contract of
automatically being registered as an organ donor, means to guilt the citizen in
to donating their organs. However, providing the citizens with the contract is
in no means to guilt the citizens, but a form of encouragement to help those in
need. There is no obligation by law for citizens to give up their organs after
death. A similar experiment is done at local restaurants. After customers are
done ordering their meal, a server may ask them if they want to add on another
small dish or an additional appetizer. The consumer is not required to accept
the offer, but they do have the option to if they wish.   Overall, the
contract offered to citizens at the Motor Vehicle Division, is in no way a trap
to guilt the citizens, but it is a small form of encouragement that citizens
have the full opportunity to reject or accept. If somewhere down the road, they
choose to reverse their decision that is also a possibility that is
offered. 

Offering the
contract to citizens not only encourages citizens to donate organs, but it also
informs them about the options that are available to them. A survey was
conducted to research the knowledge of citizens in organ donation. Only 5% admitted that
they talked to their doctors about it, 6% talked to families about organ donations, and 6% didn’t even know
what an organ donor card is . If the government were to create
the contract, not only would citizens be more likely to consent, but it would
also further inform citizens on organ donation. A popular method that has
proven success is during the holidays there are volunteers in front of
department stores ringing bells asking for donations. The public is not
required to make a donation, but they are being encouraged to as well as being
informed about the opportunity to help those in need.