April is National Donate Life Month, which is a great time for seniors at Broadmoor Court assisted living community to consider the type of legacy they might like to leave.
Thomas Aquinas says that charity is "the friendship of man for God." Through acts of loving-kindness and giving, those of the faith are able to unite themselves more to God because they treat others in a way that demonstrates the love of God for all people. Organ donation is one way that individuals can show this type of charity; it is, perhaps, a final way to give unto others in this earthly realm.
However, organ donation suffers from a variety of myths that keep people from signing up to be donors. Here are just a few myths that might be worrisome to seniors, along with the facts that dispute them.
Some people believe that if medical staff at a hospital see that you are an organ donor, they won't treat you or try as hard to save your life. The false belief here is that doctors and other hospital staff put priority on other patients for some reason and see an organ donor only as a delivery system for organs that might be needed. This is not true.
For medical staff, the priority is always the patient at hand, and they will work to improve your health or save your life using all the resources at hand. Whether or not you are an organ donor only comes into play when all lifesaving methods have been exhausted.
You might think that after a certain age, you're simply too old to make a difference by gifting someone with your organs. In reality, there's no age limit. Whether or not your organs can be used after you're gone depends on the individual health of the organ, not your age.
In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the oldest organ donor on record was 92. Check out the story of his donation — a liver which went to a 69-year-old woman who would have died of end-stage liver disease without the act of charity bestowed by this man and his family.
Many people believe that organ donation is something only relatively healthy people can do. While this may be true of live organ donation (donating one of your organs that you can live without to someone else who is a match), it's not true for traditional organ donation. Someone with a heart condition may not be able to donate their heart, but some of their other vital organs, such as kidneys or liver, may be healthy and functional.
Ultimately, medical teams evaluate organs and make the call at the time someone passes away. You can't know before then what organs may be needed or viable, but the medical teams can't make these decisions at all if you haven't signed up as an organ donor or let your family know this was your wish.
Many people believe their plans for an open-casket end-of-life celebration or wake may be impacted by organ donation. In most cases, tissue, eye and organ donation does not impact these arrangements. In fact, according to U.S. Government Information on Organ Donation and Transplantation, the bodies of organ donors are treated with the same care and respect that any patient would be to protect end-of-life options.
Ultimately, organ donation is a very personal choice that each person must make themselves. Seniors at Broadmoor Court senior living community can make the best decision for themselves when they look past the myths and understand the truths about organ donation.