April is National ‘Donate Life’ Month. About 118,000 Americans are on a waiting list for a life saving organ.  A little over than 2,000 here in Connecticut.

Here are the most common questions about organ and tissue donation:

If the hospital finds out someone is a donor, will they stop giving care?

Edward Valente, Clinical Nurse and ICU Manager at Griffin Hospital: “We don’t know anybody’s donation status before they come to us. The reality is that as ICU personell, we are there to save your loved one’s life. Organ donation doesn’t come into anybody’s mind until we’ve gotten to that point when either they’ve been declared brain dead, then the discussion is done with the New England Donor Services.”

How do you become a donor?
Mark Brevard with New England Donor Services: “You can actually go to the Motor Vehicles Department and register.  You can calso donate on your I-phone on the health app.  It takes literally like two seconds to fill out and then also you can do it at other means at different locations at the hospitals with representatives there.”

What if donating is against my religion? 

Mark Brevard: “All religions support organ/tissue donation. And our organization works very closely with the hospitals to make sure that everything is done in a respectful way so that we honor whatever your religion’s practices may be.”

Am I too old?

Mark Brevard: “Actually you can be in your 90’s and sign up to be an organ/tissue donor especially a tissue donor. So age has no bearing on you becoming a donor.”

Michael Kelly posted on Facebook: Can relatives of organ donors decline permission to donate? 

Mark Brevard: “If you are a registered donor, they don’t have a legal right but we have a team of people from our organization at New England Donor Services who works closely with the family and actually speaks with the family about certain things that takes place and also encourages them to honor the wishes of their family.”

Mark Brevard adds that most families do follow the donor’s wishes.    

One American dies nearly every hour waiting for a transplant.  One donation can save up to eight lives in addition to about 75 with a tissue donation.

You can also sign up easily at www.registerme.org.

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