Dispelling Organ Donation Myths
The need for donated organs and tissues continues to rise at a rate much faster than their availability. For some, the belief around emergency and trauma doctors standing by, waiting to claim healthy organs still persists. But, it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Will doctors still try to save my life?
Yes. Your life always comes first.
“My number one priority is to take care of that patient, do any life-saving interventions to help save that patient’s life,” Dr. Keshav Deshpande, trauma surgeon at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, told 10TV’s Angela Pace.
Dr. Deshpande said when a patient comes in, doctors are not even aware of which patients are donors.
“While the clerical workers of the hospital are taking in that information, we’re busy on the other side trying to take care of the patient,” he told Pace. “So it doesn’t even cross my mind if they are a donor or not. My priority is to take care of that patient.”
The organ donation conversation does not even begin until death has been declared for a patient. According to the Lifeline of Ohio website, death occurs in two ways: 1) from cessation of cardiopulmonary (heart-lung) function; or 2) from the cessation of brain function (brain death). Brain death occurs when a person has an irreversible, catastrophic brain injury, which causes all brain activity to permanently stop.
“Brain death is one of those diagnoses that is clearly defined and has very specific criteria that need to be met,” said Dr. Deshpande. “Once that diagnosis is made, we make the referral to Lifeline of Ohio or any other organ procurement facility and have them come evaluate the patient, and based on their evaluation, they can make the recommendation that this is a good candidate for organ donation or not.”
One person has the potential to save eight lives and heal more than 50, but if you are taken to the hospital after a traumatic injury, it is the doctors’ number one priority to save YOUR life. Dr. Deshpande says everyone should talk with their loved ones to learn about their wishes surrounding organ donation.
To learn more about emergency and trauma care at Grant Medical Center, please click here.
To learn about Lifeline of Ohio and how to register as an eye, organ and tissue donor, please click here.