This post challenges me personally. Why don’t I just register to become an organ donor? This is not the first time I’ve been confronted with the idea.
I allow myself to take a moment to think about this…
Why don’t I want to register as an organ donor?
Is it because I’m afraid of death?
My thoughts go this way and that way… It settles here: No, I am not afraid of dying. I sincerely believe in an afterlife (which I won’t be discussing here as that is not the purpose of my specific outreach today).
Why then don’t I want to register as an organ donor?
Is it because I don’t truly see it as a worthy cause?
No. That cannot be the reason. It is one of the most worthy acts of kindness one human being can bestow upon another:
South African Transplant statistics (2013):
There were 566 organ and cornea transplants.
335 of these were solid organ transplants broken down into the following:
Hearts: 25 adults
Lungs: 7 adults
Livers: 37 adults, 2 adolescents & 16 paediatric of which 1 adult & 8 paediatric were live related
Simultaneous kidney/liver: 1 adult & 1 paediatric
Kidneys: 222 adults, 4 adolescents & 3 paediatrics of which:
77 adults, 4 adolescents & 3 paediatric transplants were live related
24 adult kidney transplants was live non-related
36% of kidney donors were related to the recipient
Simultaneous kidney/pancreas: 6 adults
Pancreas: 1 adult
Pancreas after kidney: 3 adults
231 adults, adolescents and children had their sight restored through a cornea transplant.
Then why don’t I want to register as an organ donor?
Is it because I don’t like to think about other people’s problems?
Possibly yes, because if I don’t know about their problems it doesn’t trouble me.
Oh, please don’t let that be true of me: don’t let it be that I close my eyes to other people’s struggles just because I find it convenient not to think about it.
It can’t be that! I refuse to make that a truth applicable to my life.
Is it simply because I don’t have the time to do it?
No! Time is not a reason – it’s an excuse. I make time for small pleasures even when “I don’t have time”. I’m taking time to write this post. I could’ve registered by now.
You’re taking time to read this post…
Then why don’t we?
Is it because we’re afraid that our organs will be taken while we still have a chance of survival?
Now this is starting to ring true… I don’t want my kids to grow up without their mommy because some doctor decided to take my organs while I still had a fighting chance to live…
I need to stop here.
Because I need to emphasize this:
THIS is probably the major reason why people, who open their minds to consider organ donation, don’t go through with the registration:
They don’t want their organs to be taken if they’re not really 100% dead.
But the truth of the matter is that we cannot be 50% dead.
We can also not be 80% dead.
We cannot even be 99% dead.
I don’t mean to sound insensitive. Really, I don’t.
I’m just trying to get this point across: we don’t have to be afraid of organ donation.
All potential organ donors are patients on support systems. They are submitted to tests to certify brain death and become organ donors once brain death is certified and permission is obtained for organ donation.
Two doctors, who are completely independent of the transplant team, have to perform detailed tests before a person can be declared brain dead. The criteria for brain death are very strictly adhered to and accepted medically, legally and ethically in South Africa and internationally.
You can change your mind at any time. Simply tear up your organ donor card and remove your sticker from your ID document and driver’s license. Inform your family that you no longer wish to be an organ donor.