Prevention & Recovery

5 most common questions about organ donation

iStockphoto.com/AlexRaths Author: Canadian Living Credits: iStockphoto.com/AlexRaths

Prevention & Recovery

5 most common questions about organ donation

“People who are on the fence about organ donation usually have a question that they’re reluctant to ask,” says James W. Breckenridge, president and CEO of the Canadian Transplant Society. “We want to make sure people feel comfortable being organ donors.” Here are the answers to Canadians’ most common concerns about organ donation.

1. Will doctors work as hard to save me if I’m a potential donor?
“As a former emergency-room physician, I know that we don’t ever look at a person’s donor card while we’re trying to save a life,” says Dr. Aubrey Goldstein, president of the Canadian Transplant Association. The conversation about whether someone’s organs might be donated is never brought up until it’s clear the person is dead or brain-dead.

2. Is there an age limit?
No. While those under the age of majority need parental consent to register as organ donors, children and infants can be donors, and adults of all ages can register to be organ donors, says Breckenridge.

3. Could my disease or health condition preclude me from being a donor someday?
“The best thing to do is just register,” says Dr. Eric Yoshida, professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia and part of the liver-transplant program at Vancouver General Hospital. “Every single organ system is different,” he explains. Although your condition may mean one organ or tissue can’t be used, other organs may still be eligible to help save a life.

4. What happens to my body? Can I still have an open casket at my funeral?
“The surgeons will close the abdomen and the chest, then morticians will make the body look lifelike,” says Dr. Yoshida. The family can have an open-casket funeral, and no one will know that any organs are missing.

5. Does my religion allow organ donation?
No major religion is opposed to organ donation, says Dr. Goldstein. “The most important thing you can do is save someone’s life.”

To learn more about organ donation and why it matters, read the Antolins' story.

This story was originally titled "Still Hesitant to Donate?" in the January 2015 issue.

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Prevention & Recovery

5 most common questions about organ donation

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