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organ donor

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by matthew0126, Feb 24, 2002.

  1. matthew0126

    matthew0126 Anaheim Angels 7+ Year Member

    Feb 2, 2002
    S. California
    hey guys, got a question

    how does the medical establishment decide if they will donate your organs to someone else (when you die). obviously, if you have that sticker on your license that says you want to be an organ donor, they'll do it

    but what about people that don't have a sticker? are there any cases where someone has had their organs donated when they didn't specify that they wanted to be a donor? i'd hope that organ donation would only occur with those that feel comfortable doing it
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  3. lilycat

    lilycat Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Aug 12, 2000
    Essentially the decision is left to your family members. This happens even if you have the organ donor sticker -- I have seen cases where people designated themselves as organ donors on their drivers licesnes, and then the family decided against donation. Basically this is a decision that you want to make very clear to your family and loved ones, whatever your decision is.

    I'm not really sure what the protocol is regarding someone without family, or if they are unable to contact the family, but I'm guessing that the person is not used as a donor in that case.
  4. lamyers1

    lamyers1 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 2, 2002
    Mobile, AL
    Pennsylvania is/may be the only state that I can think of that will take the word of your drivers license and make you a donor. The other states do not count the license. It is still up to your family regardless of the donor status on the card. That's why the slogan is to "Share your life, share your decision" or umm..somthing like that.
  5. Jessica

    Jessica Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 7, 2001
    I work for an OPO (organ procurement org) in CA, so I can shed some light on this question.

    In all cases, your family/legal NOK are the ones who give consent for organ donation. Even though the little pink dot thing and cards are supposed to be legally binding, if you have the dot/card but your lagal NOK objects, you don't become a donor. That is why there is a major emphasis on sharing your decision with your family. The OPO doesn't want an image of being evil organ stealers or create conflict within a family during a time of grief and trauma by making you a donor if your family objects to it.

    If you have no NOK (Next of Kin), then you do not become a donor (even if you have the dot/card indicating that you want to donate.)

    you can check out if you want to find out more, or PM me if you want details :)

    And technically, to be a donor you have to be somewhat "alive" (at least in CA, you must meet brain death criteria but still have a heart beat. If you are dead dead-no heart beat or brain activity, you can only donate tissues -skin, bone, saphenous -sp?- veins, etc.)
  6. efs

    efs SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    I work in tissue donation and am glad to see that people have an interest in the topic. The tissues that are recoverd vary by location. Here we do not take saphenous veins, though other places do. Skin, bones (which ones vary by location), and heart (for valves, and pericardium) are what we do here. Along with the bones the patellar tendon and the achilles tendon are particluarly useful. I think the number of people who may benefit from the tissue from a single donor is around 80-90. While the Organ Donation is more visible and understandable to the lay public, tissue doantion can be valuable as well.
  7. matthew0126

    matthew0126 Anaheim Angels 7+ Year Member

    Feb 2, 2002
    S. California
    thanks guys for all the info. much appreciated...

    the question has come up before from friends and no one knew. but now i know :D
  8. pocwana

    pocwana MD/MBA candidate c/o 2008 7+ Year Member

    May 11, 2002
    Every day in the United States, people suffer or die due to serious shortages of blood, bone marrow or other tissue. The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) facilitates marrow and blood stem cell transplants for patients with leukemia and other blood or genetic disorders. As part of its efforts to provide patients in need with potentially lifesaving transplants, the NMDP continues to work toward increased awareness about the need for volunteer bone marrow or blood stem cell donors.

    Organ and tissue donation awareness is a key initiative of U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson. Thompson has declared the month of April National Donate Life Month to raise public awareness of the need for organ and tissue donation.

    In addition to sponsoring National Donate Life Month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains an organ and tissue donation Web site at where potential donors can learn more about saving lives. The site provides a wide range of educational resources, as well as opportunities for both individuals and organizations to get involved.Learn more about The Marrow Foundation at or

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