Becoming an Organ Donor

Medical concept

Did you know that one person has the ability to save up to 8 lives through organ donation 

Organ donation is a surgical procedure in which one or more healthy organs are transplanted into a patient with end-stage organ failure.  It is widely considered to be a selfless act of generosity, yet it represents a significant commitment on the part of the potential organ donor and his or her loved ones.

Statistics, resources, and patient stories relating to organ donation can help you make an informed decision about becoming an organ donor. 

Organs and tissues that can be donated include:

  • Skin
  • Kidneys
  • Heart 
  • Liver 
  • Pancreas
  • Intestines
  • Lungs
  • Bone and bone marrow
  • Cornea
  • Middle ear

Why become a donor?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, organ donors made more than 28,000 transplants possible in 2011. In addition to recoveries aided by organ transplants, one million people received tissue transplants that supported recoveries from trauma, burns, bone damage, spinal injuries, vision loss and hearing impairment.  

Unfortunately, thousands of people die each year while waiting for organ transplants.

How to become an organ donor

You must register with your state to become an organ donor. You can register over the Internet or while getting your driver’s license renewed. You may also wish to share your organ donor status with your family and friends, so they can support you in this important decision.

Who can and cannot be an organ donor

People of any age can potentially become organ donors. Infants, as well as senior citizens, have been successful donors.  Donors can be living or deceased.

Some preexisting conditions will exclude a person from becoming an organ donor; these include active cancer, HIV infection, and systemic infection.  If you are under 18 years of age, you need the permission of your parent or legal guardian to register as an organ donor.

Many potential organ donors worry that their religion will not support the process of organ donation. In fact, many major religions in the U.S. support organ donation and consider it to be the final act of love and kindness toward others. It is recommended that you speak to a leading member of your religious organization to learn more about your religion’s stance on organ donation.

The Transplant Program at Riverside Community Hospital offers diagnostic testing and treatment strategies within a compassionate, patient-focused environment.

For more information on the medical services provided at Riverside Community Hospital or to obtain a referral, call our free Consult-A-Nurse ® service at (951) 788-3000. 

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