Death and Organ Donation
Contributed by Elizabeth Hurlow-Hannah, 301.785.7619, firstname.lastname@example.org
Birth and death are opposites, so why don’t we give them equal air-time? Just as talking about sex doesn’t make you pregnant, you won’t drop dead because you’ve talked about death and dying!
Diagnosed with Stage IIIA breast cancer in 2004, I’m assured that my soul will return to heaven whenever I die, but who can use my body?
My cousin, Mike, suffered a cerebral aneurysm while shopping, and the paramedics kept him alive to harvest his organs.
When Tom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at 64, he said, “Let me sign the papers to donate my brain to the Neurology unit to help someone else.”
These websites will bring you up to speed:
123,361 people are waiting for an organ 18 people will die each day waiting for an organ 1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives
Watch this five-minute video http://donatelife.net/understanding-donation/ to learn how the National Wait Transplantation works. Click on your state here: http://organdonor.gov/becomingdonor/stateregistries.html
United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) http://unos.org/is the private, non-profit organization that manages the nation’s organ transplant system under contract with the federal government.
Whole Body Donation for medical research and education:
Both organizations cover all costs: transportation; death certificates; cremation and return of cremains to your family.
Query medical schools in your state: Is pre-registration necessary?
International Whole Body Donation:
If you die overseas, check with medical schools in that country about donation.
Read this article, The process of donating a whole body for medical research written by Sara Madsen, Editor in Chief for US Funerals Online. http://www.us-funerals.com/body-donation.html#.VMQNPS7uZ8o [Permission granted.
Check out the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) a professional, non-profit, scientific and educational organization. http://www.aatb.org
Be assured that all of these procedures are legal and ethical. No one removes body parts to sell on the black market. Ask yourself, “WHAT IF _________ developed an illness and was put on the transplant list? How would I react? What could I do to help?”
I signed up with MedCure in 2009, because it’s an even barter: they pay all costs associated with retrieving my body and using it for medical research; I avoid paying $7K-$10K in funeral costs —which adds a bump to my grandchildren’s educational fund. Isn’t this the best win-win situation?
Life’s never easy, sometimes not fair. We need to roll with the cards we’re dealt, even when it looks like a lousy hand.
How about you? What are you going to do? I’d love to hear your thoughts.