Organ Donation - The Gift of Life!

By: Heather Mekesa Silvia Perez-Protto, MD, MS Posted on August 14, 2019

Organ Donation - The Gift of Life! Organ Donation - The Gift of Life!

The Importance of Organ, Tissue and Eye Donation (OTE)

Did you know that over 113,000 individuals are waiting for a lifesaving transplant in the United States?

Every 10 minutes, another person is added to this list and sadly, every day 22 people will die waiting because an organ was not available.

You and your loved ones can help become a part of ending this need simply by making the decision to become an organ, eye and tissue donor.

It takes less than five minutes to sign up and that decision could make years of a positive difference in someone’s life.

It may be surprising to learn that the advances in medicine have allowed new opportunities in transplant, including:

  • Face Transplant
  • Limbs
  • Uterus Transplant

Recently, the first baby from a deceased donor’s uterus was born in the U.S. at the Cleveland Clinic. These donations are screened on a case by case basis and require a separate ask from the donor family for authorization. 

In the last five years, there has been an increase in neonatal donation. Parents who have sadly received a non-survivable diagnosis like anencephaly or faced a traumatic brain injury of a child through the birth process have been able to create a lasting legacy for their precious baby by donating their organs and tissue for critical medical research, and in some cases, pediatric tissue transplants. 

Facts About Donation

It is important to provide you the facts and answer your questions about donation, so you feel that you have made an informed decision and you can communicate this with your loved ones. 

  1. First responders and doctors work very hard to save the lives of both registered and non-registered donors. They are not directly involved in the donation process and their priority is to do everything they can to save your life. 
  2. All major religious groups support donation. Leaders of all major religions agree that donation is among one of the most charitable acts one can give.
  3. There is no age criteria or even health history that would make you ineligible to become a donor at the time of your death. 1 out of every 3 donors is over the age of 50.
  4. Donation does not impact the desire for an open-casket funeral. The donation process is done in a way that will preserve the donor’s dignity and appearance. 
  5. There is no financial obligation to the donor family. These costs are all covered by the donation recovery organization. 
  6. Research shows that donation helps families in their grieving process.
  7. You can register your donation wishes in your Living Will document or driver's license.

To learn more about organ, tissue and eye donation, visit lifebanc.org. Please consider registering to become a donor if you have not already done so, your act of kindness could impact countless lives. Every hopeful recipient is that irreplaceable person in someone’s life.   

Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be in Charge!

-Heather Mekesa and Silvia Perez Protto, MD, MS

Heather Mekesa is the Chief Hospital of Clinical Services Officer at Lifebanc.

Silvia Perez-Protto, MD, MS is an anesthesiologist and intensivist and Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at the Cleveland Clinic Learner College of Medicine.

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