Organ donor: Highest form humanitarianism

April 15, 2012 at 12:49 PM

NEW YORK, April 15 (UPI) -- Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam and most branches of Judaism endorse organ donation as the highest gesture of humanitarianism, U.S. doctors say.

Yet, each year, more than 100,000 Americans will need a life-saving organ transplant, but last year fewer than 22,000 U.S. transplants took place, said physicians at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York.

April is National Donate Life Month and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital doctors point out facts about organ donation including:

-- There are very few medical conditions that would automatically disqualify a person from donating any organs and tissues.

-- Family members are never held responsible for any costs related to donation.

-- Although it is important to join a donor registry and indicate organ donation on a driver's license, it is equally important to make family, friends and doctors aware of this decision.

-- Your medical history is more important than your age. Organs have been transplanted from donors in their 70s and 80s.

-- Potential organ donors are usually admitted to the hospital after illness or an accident, and have usually experienced a brain aneurysm, stroke, or severe head trauma.

-- The organ transplant waiting list is blind to wealth and celebrity status. People receive organs based on the severity of the illness, time spent on the waiting list, and blood type.

-- Donating an organ will not delay funeral arrangements.

-- It is possible to donate to someone who is not a relative and even to someone from another racial or ethnic group.

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