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Melody Schubert

Americans Share Their Lives Through Organ Donation
By Melody Schubert
Aug 16, 2004 - 6:14:00 PM

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Each year Americans who live with a terminal illness receive a precious gift, a second chance at life they would not have otherwise. This gift comes from those who have made a critical decision, to donate their organs to save another life.

Potential organ donors can be of any age or race. They may be people we know like our loved ones and friends. Sharing this important decision to donate their organs or tissue with family members insures that arrangements can be made if needed. Be assured that the medical community is committed to saving the lives of their patients admitted to the hospital in an emergency. The Donor Choice Law does allow a medical professional to care out your wishes without family consent. Every attempt will be made though to inform your family of your decision upon your death. Donating organs or tissue will not affect funeral arrangements either. Your appearance will remain intake for traditional services.

Those under 18 who want to become donors will need their parent or guardians consent first. Donor cards are also available at your local license branch. These cards are signed by you and two other witnesses, and indicate whether you want to make an organ donation. Specific organs may be chosen like Kidney, liver, lungs, pancreas, heart, or intestines. In addition to tissue such as eyes, heart valves, tendons, bone, skin, or veins.

These gifts can help save another Americans life.

Each day hundreds Americans across the nation are added to list transplant waiting list, including children. Recipients of a donation are treated equally regardless of financial status. The severity of a patient's illness and other medical issues are considered carefully for each potential recipient of an organ or tissue donation before a decision is made by the medical staff. Some of those on the list unfortunately will not receive a organ gift in time. Yet, there is hope. Everyone can become a donor when they visit their local License Branch to renew their license. At that time a red heart is printed on your license, which indicates your desire to give life in order to save another.

Here in Indiana Indiana Organ Procurement Organization (IOPO) assists families of those who have chosen to become a donor. Each state has their own organization, and each is dedicated to raising awareness of organ, tissue, and eye donation transplant throughout the state. A IOPO transplant coordinator or another trained specialist is available to explain the donation process after a loved one passes, and will answer any questions the family may have. They also keep in contact with the families and assist them throughout the grieving process.

Families are offered a memory box that holds precious mementoes and keepsakes along with a Gift of Life Donor Medal to honor the donation from their loved one. Later in the year IOPO hosts a memorial service in remembrance of donors in December. This is a special occasion when donor families, recipients, transplant coordinators at IOPO and those who support organ and tissue donation join together to celebrate the lives of those whose gift has saved another life.

For more information on organ donation or the Organ Procurement Organization call 1-888-ASK-IOPO (1-888-275-4676) or go to their website at www.iopo.org. Information is also available from the Coalition on Donation at http://www.shareyourlife.org. 317-685-0389.


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