National Organ Donation Survey Reveals Myths Still Prevalent

Time to time we like to post about larger national donation trends to provide perspective on how our efforts here in Illinois fit into the bigger picture.

Last month, Donate Life America released the results of a recent online survey of 5,100 U.S. adults to uncover current misconceptions and confusion about organ donation and registration. You can read about the full survey results here and I’ve outlined a few of the key findings below.

· Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of people who say they are undecided, reluctant or do not wish to donate are not sure they would be an acceptable donor. Yet, in reality, age or health conditions do not prevent people from being potential donors as donation
screening only occurs before organs and tissue are recovered for transplant.

· Only half (50 percent) of respondents correctly believe that doctors will try as hard to save their life even if they know their wish to be an organ donor

· Just under half (44 percent) mistakenly think that in the U.S. there is a black market in which people can buy or sell organs or tissue.

· Only 43 percent of respondents understand that it is impossible for a brain dead person to recover from his or her injuries.

It’s the sad but realistic perception of many which is why every Donate Life group, organ procurement organization, transplant hospital and supporters and advocates across the country work hard every day to educate others about the facts.

What’s being done on a national level to address these survey results?

The transplant community has come a long way in the past few years. I’d encourage you to check out this April 2009 National Donor Designation Report Card as it provides a nice snapshot of how the community has progressed on a national scale. Of note is the fact that 46 states, including Illinois, now have legally-binding first-person consent registries which eliminate the need for additional consent from witnesses or loved ones to be a donor.

In addition, according to the Report Card, by the end of 2008, 79.7 million people were enrolled in donor registries in the 50 states and the District ofColumbia, representing 38.2 percent of licensed drivers. Currently, the national goal is to work toward having a 50 percent of all driver’s facility or DMV customers designating “yes” when asked whether they would like to be a donor.

Have you come across others that have not registered as a donor because they are not educated about the registration process or believe in some type of myth? We’d love to hear your feedback.


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