Be an organ and tissue donor — be a hero
Organ and tissue donation gives everyone a chance to be a hero. The decision of just one person to become a donor can save as many as eight lives with organ donation and heal 50 others with tissue donation.
National Donate Life Month is held each April to raise awareness about the critical need for organ and tissue donation. More than 113,000 people are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant in the United States and every day 18 of those people die because they did not receive a transplant in time.
This month, Grady Memorial Hospital is flying in front of our building a special donation flag and displaying in our lobby a donor quilt — made by donor and recipient families — in support of National Donate Life Month.
It’s easy to become a donor. All you have to do is join the Ohio Donor Registry maintained by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. This can be done by declaring your intention — just say “yes” — when you receive or renew your driver’s license, state identification card or learner’s permit. You can also register online at donatelifeohio.com or by mailing to the Ohio BMV a donor registration form.
Although more than 90 percent of the public supports organ, eye and tissue donation, only about 50 percent of Ohioans are registered donors. Many still buy into myths regarding donation. Here are some facts you should know:
• Anyone can be a donor, regardless of age, race or medical history.
• All religions in the United States endorse organ, eye and tissue donation as a generous act of caring.
There is no cost for medical expenses associated with donation.
• Open casket funerals are still possible for donors.
• Donation does not compromise care and is only considered after all efforts have been made to save your life and death has been declared.
Grady complies with all federally-mandated requirements of organ, tissue and eye donation. When a death occurs, Medicare requires all hospitals to contact an independent organ procurement organization (OPO). Our OPO partner is Lifeline of Ohio, serving central and southeastern Ohio and two counties in West Virginia.
A Lifeline of Ohio procurement team reports to the hospital, evaluates the deceased for potential to donate and completes the procurement process. Grady assists Lifeline of Ohio with copies of medical records and arrangements for a surgical suite, but is not involved in the donation process that includes facilitating placement of the organs to waiting recipients and delivery to the transplant center.
Our gifts of donation at Grady typically include tissue and eye donation. Donated tissue such as skin, bone and heart valves can dramatically improve the quality of life and even save lives. Eye tissue is needed for the transplantation of corneas that restore sight. If a patient is only suitable for eye tissue donation, we notify the Central Ohio Lion’s Club for screening and procurement.
Organ and tissue donation occurs at a difficult time, but it is one way to honor deceased loved ones and give meaning to their lives. For more information, visit lifelineofohio.org or call 800–535-5667.
Kim Thompson, RN, BSN, is the nurse manager of Grady Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department. She also manages the hospital’s organ and tissues donations and is Grady’s liaison to Lifeline of Ohio.