Letter: Before signing up to be organ donor, get the facts


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Posted Online: April 17, 2013, 2:37 pm
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Before signing up to be an organ donor, do your research to be sure you give "informed consent."

Did you know:

-- Procedures can be started that hurt your chances of recovery, such as the administration of heparin and the apnea test. A 2006 Illinois law allows this prior to knowing the wishes of the patient or family, in case permission is obtained for organ donation.

-- Doctors trying to save your life might be influenced by organ procurement organizations (OPOs). A nurse, in a story explaining the process her Ohio hospital goes through in a case for possible organ donation, said they do not wait for death to be declared to refer a possible donor to the local OPO.

-- There is much controversy about the term "brain death," and whether brain dead patients are actually dead when their organs are taken. There are wide disparities in different states' or hospitals' determinations of when brain death has occurred.

Brain death is not definitive. Patients said to be in irreversible brain death have recovered.

One of the most-publicized cases is Zach Dunlap, who had no brain activity or blood flow but then moved his hand and foot, causing the procedure to be cancelled.

To learn more about organ donation, the controversies surrounding it, and what actually happens during organ retrieval, a good article to read is the May 2012 Discover Magazine's "The Beating Heart Donors" by Dick Teresi, available at some QCA libraries, or online at http://discovermagazine.com/2012/may/10-the-beatingheart-donors.

Cathy Bein,
Silvis

















 



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