There are many life-saving benefits of organ donation. The decision to become an organ donor is a selfless act that can save the lives of terminally ill individuals and improve the quality of life of other individuals through tissue and eye donation. Organ donation is truly a gift of life that saves many people on a daily basis. However many other individuals on waiting lists for organs die due to an insufficient supply of available organs. There is a constant need for organ donors. “In the United States, there are more than 114,000 people currently in need of organ transplants.” (“All about Donation” para.1) The following essay will provide examples of the life-saving benefits of organ donation.
There may be several reasons why many people are reluctant to donate their organs despite the great need for them. Many believe that doctors would be less likely to save a person’s life if they know that he/she is an organ donor; doctors save lives and would not let patients die for their organs. Others believe that organs can be bought and sold. This act is illegal in the United States. Also, there are other people who feel that people who are pronounced brain dead can recover. It is not possible to recover from brain death. (Insel and Roth) According to Donate Life America, everyone regardless of age and health status should consider the possibility of donating their organs upon their deaths or becoming a living donor of organs such as kidneys. Through the donation of a healthy heart, liver, or kidney to someone who needs a transplant, the donor can save the lives of those in need. (“Understanding Donation”)
When individuals become organ donors they have the potential “to save up to eight lives through organ donation, and to save or improve the lives of up to 50 recipients through tissue and eye donation.” (“All About Donation” para.1) Former Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney received a heart transplant in March. Law and Order actor Jerry Orbach was an organ donor. Prior to his death in 2004 from prostate cancer he requested to have his eyes donated upon his death. After he died two people –one who needed correction for a nearsighted eye and another person who needed correction for a farsighted eye received his corneas. (“Jerry Orbach”)
People who are still alive may choose to donate organs for transplantation.” Transplantation gives hope to thousands of people with organ failure and provides many others with active and renewed lives.” “(Donation Understand) “Most living donors chose to donate their kidneys. There are high levels of kidney disease with approximately 2,000 kidney transplants last year. One in three transplants were done using kidneys from live donors. (Thomas) An organ donation can help the recipient by sparing them the cost of long-term medical expenses and treatments. For example, if a patient receives a kidney transplant, there would be no need for him/her to undergo dialysis which is generally needed for the rest of the patient’s life. Last November it was reported an Arizona woman donated more than five feet of her small intestine so that her sister could get a transplant that saved her life in 2009. (Walenga) Living related donation is common among family members. The first known living donation occurred in 1954 when a patients’ identical twin donated a kidney to his ailing twin brother resulting in the first kidney transplant that year. (Heisler)
Family members who are grieving the loss of loved ones may take comfort in the fact that their loved one’s organs may help others. A young woman in California who lost her 18-year-old brother in a car accident stated that she and her family felt that donating his organs to those in need would be the right thing to do. The family was informed by the Donor Network that seventy people would receive the young man’s organs. A Missouri woman who lost her husband and her 2-year-old son in a car accident caused by a drunken driver decided to donate her son’s organs. She was grateful that she was able to do this stating “New life came from my tragedy.” (“Donor Stories”) In 1994 a seven-year-old boy named Nicholas Green was shot to death while travelling with his parents and sister through Calabria, Italy when would-be robbers mistook his family’s car for a jewellery delivery car. After Nicholas was declared brain dead Mr. and Mrs Green stated that they would donate their son’s organs and corneas to Italians who needed them. (Horgan) As a result of the publicity surrounding this decision, organ donation rates increased in Italy and the Greens became advocates for organ donation and have written books that tell stories of people at various stages of the transplant process. Shortly after Italian journalist, Enzo Biagi wrote, “I wish to thank you, not only for the transplants but for a lesson—in generosity, in composure.” (Kiener para. 12) While the Greens certainly would never forget their loss, their generous act has saved the lives of many others. In that sense, their son has lived on through recipients of Nicholas’ organs and tissue. When they met the many recipients of their son’s organs and tissue, r. Green recognized the impact of his and his wife’s action. He realized that his son “transformed the lives of all those people there.” (Horgan, “did one little body do this?’) These are just some examples of the ways that organ donation can make a difference in the lives of so many people.
In conclusion, organ donation is a simple charitable gift that does not cost anything. One donation will help a lot of people boost their state of health or quality of life. People may choose to donate organs while they are alive or donate upon their deaths. They may also choose to donate the organs of their deceased loved ones. Regardless of the circumstance, they can take comfort in the fact that they are helping others.