Ms. Carrie Kendall
Over the years, technology has advanced and so have organ transplants. Physicians are making people more aware of the importance of being a donor which is very necessary. Every year, there are countless amounts of people that will die because the demand for organ donation remain high, leading to what has been termed the “organ donation conundrum (Evans,2014, p.178).” Individuals should consider donating their organs because it can save a life, because “Public acceptance of routine medical procedures is nearly universal, but controversy over dramatic or invasive procedures like transplants is common” (Evans,2014, p.178). Being well informed about all the new technology in medicine people can see that it increases the life span of the average American, and because informing people about the pros and cons of organ transplants and donation is just as important.
It can save a life
Organ transplants only started in the United States in the early 1950s, kidneys were the first internal organ that was successfully transplanted, and it remains the organ that is most in demand today. Being able to give a person a second chance at life is rewarding in its self. “Today there is a whole range of life-saving transplants available – kidney, liver, heart, lung(s), pancreas, and small bowel” (Engels, Eric A, M.D, (2011,p.306). In 1905 eye surgeon Eduard Zirm pioneered the first corneal grafting (Engels, Eric A, M.D, (2011, p.306). This opened the door for many people who will end up needing a transplant. UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) is the organization that maintains the list for the entire nation. Probably the greatest thing you can ever do is be an organ donor you would be giving the gift of life to either a family member or to a stranger who is in need. More people die on the waiting list each year as the need for organs outweighs the availability. “Based on data from the US Health and Human Services’ Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), there were more than 118,500 people on the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) waiting list in mid-June 2013. It is estimated by UNOS that eighteen people die every day in the United States waiting for an organ” (WebMD, June 05, 2017).
As we have learned through the last few decades many of the transplants would not have been possible if it had not been for life-support technology, except for kidney transplants. “Ventilators, for instance, are used to maintain the brainstem-dead donors who are the main source of organs for grafting; the ventilator, too, sustains the recipient’s breathing during and immediately after surgery. The heart–lung machine, introduced in 1953, is essential in major transplants where the recipient’s own circulation has to be interrupted” (Engels, Eric AMD (2011, p.306). With all the advances more and more people are being helped so that they may have a second chance at life. Organ transplants can be lifesaving it gives the recipient a wonderful new lease on life.
Public acceptance and being informed
Although organ transplants are not new there are still people out there that have their reservations, could be because of their religion or just their beliefs in general. Many people in different cultures believe that if the body is not whole it cannot enter the afterlife. Research consistently suggests that people who hold strong religious beliefs are less supportive of organ transplants, race can also statistically have a significant effect with blacks and Asians less supportive of transplants than whites or Native Americans. Support for organ transplants remains high, as in past decades, but is not universal.
Pros and cons of organ transplants
Organ transplants are considered major surgeries, Once you have surgery the recovery is long and hard work, you must become accustomed to all the medication that you must now take some for the rest of your life. Many patients say that they didn’t realize just how sick they were and how much better they feel after their transplant. Trying to get your life back after a transplant can be challenging but it can be done even though it will be a test of your commitment to yourself. Technique improved rapidly: the probability of surviving the operation itself increased, as did long-term prospects for survivors. “Despite its startling novelty when introduced, organ transplantation’s offer of a new lease on life and the lack of conflict with any major religious tenets led to near universal endorsement by American elites and the spread of transplant technology throughout the world (Forsythe, 2009)”. Governments in the past have put forward the idea of compulsory donation. However, some people argue that this is unethical, and a person has the right to refuse. In some major religions the idea of harming the body after death is just simply not an option. Counter arguments claim that these issues are irrelevant as the number of lives saved would outweigh any negatives; they would be ‘saving lives. Transplants from human donors are relatively straightforward on the face of it however underneath the surface hides a tangle of ethical and moral concerns. What are the sources of organs used in transplantation? Should we pay for organs? Should someone who has already received one transplant, be allowed a second? Should alcoholics be given liver transplants? These are all questions that we need to answer. “Chinese culture does not support the concept of brain death. Due to these reasons, Chinese people have adverse opinions about organ donation and medical transplant. For example, Confucianism, which is an ancient philosophy in Chinese culture impose the condition on its follower that person who was born with complete body should end in same position (Forsythe, 2009)”.
Making the decision to donate or not
There are so many reasons why people should donate but there are also the reasons why they shouldn’t. Knowing you could save someone else’s life, means you must weigh the good and the bad of doing this. People need to be aware of everything and not let anyone decide for them, the decision needs to be theirs and theirs alone right up until they take them into surgery. Some people will not donate because of their beliefs they feel that it is a sin to take from their own body and give to others. Then there are those who are scared because what if it doesn’t take and their bodies reject the organ. Then you have those who just don’t understand what being a donor means although with the help of most of the Department of Motor Vehicles in all the states they have information that can help. When getting a license, people can decide if they want to be a donor and if so then it will show on the license. This is a tremendous help to first responders when or if you are ever in an accident they will know if you want to help others with your donation.
Being a donor is a probably the biggest thing you can ever decide you want to do in your life, you will want to let your family know of the decision, so they are not blindsided if they ever must make that decision in an emergency. Helping others so they may live a longer life, doctors are doing so much more today than ever before. We just need to have more people aware of being a donor so that more lives can be saved. Generally, people who are scared to donate because of their religion thinking that their bodies wouldn’t be whole when they are buried. In such a case there are very few people who would willingly consent when they are alive to donate their organs after death. Then it comes to the next of the kin. However, in times of death especially if death has happened under tragic circumstances, it becomes difficult to ask the next of kin to donate their loved one’s organs voluntarily. US system of organ procurement has undergone various modifications, still it has been unable to encourage voluntary organ donations and the outcome has generally been failure. (Thomas, 2001) And in sight of this situation a way must be found out to encourage voluntary organ donation.
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WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD on June 05, 2017
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