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Organ donation is the process of surgically removing organs from one person and transplanting them into someone in need. Although organ donation may be a moral or an ethical dilemma, it only makes sense for humans to become tissue and organ donors. Tissue and organ donation is done either by a living donor or by a donor postmortem. If a donor is living, the donor may donate parts of an organ such as the “liver, lung, pancreas, and intestine” (Colburn). In some cases, a living person can sometimes even donate his/her heart (Colburn). Likewise, one can be a postmortem donor, in which case his or her organs or entire body can be donated. In either case, tissue and organ donation is highly beneficial because it saves lives and helps further scientific research.
Some people may believe that organ and tissue donation is not beneficial. Some of these reasons may be due to their fear of the donor risks: contamination, the fear that they might not receive the same treatment, and brain dead patients. Evan Smith, who is a health care writer and the author of the article “Bloody Risks,” presents donor risks such as contamination of equipment, a blood donor fainting at the scene, and the contamination of the blood. Contamination of equipment is just one of the many donor risks. According to Smith, “The use of unsterilized equipment and needles can lead to numerous health risks” (10). This can be a major concern for many patients, but it is no different than going into any other hospital setting and receiving any type of medical care. It is uncertain whether or not all of the equipment is completely sanitized. It is the staffs’ job to keep patients safe and healthy; it is also their job to make sure all of the equipment is not contaminated in any way.
Smith also suggests that there could be a risk of contamination of blood. Blood donation is a global business and happens daily throughout the world. According to Smith, “Donated blood could be contaminated with a lethal virus, bacteria, or a pathogen that goes undetected until after the blood is transfused into one or multiple patients” (10). Even though there could be a slight chance of something like this happening, with new, available technology, the risk for this is lower. Blood is always tested before it is put into any other patient. Also, “the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently recommended that organ donors be screened for HIV within a week prior to the operation” (10). This helps prevent any major diseases to be spread to other patients receiving a transplant.
The fear of a blood donor fainting at the scene is yet another donor risk. Smith says to “consider the common scenario of a blood donor fainting at a collection site. While the vast majority of donors receive first aid, and recover fully, claim severity can soar in the rare case when an individual suffers permanent brain damage from a subdural hematoma caused by a fall after a donation” (10). Some families believe that even though the patient is brain dead, the patient is still very much alive throughout the rest of their body. It is proven that sometimes when families of the patient decide to have the patient’s organs donated; it helps them cope with their loss. At the time of their loss, they can feel better about it knowing that the organs and tissues from their loved one were donated to someone in need and helped save that person’s life.
One reason that organ and tissue donation is beneficial is that it helps save lives. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “you may save up to 8 lives through organ donation and enhance many others through tissue donation” (“Home”). Organ donation helps patients who might not survive their illness, which provides them a second chance at life. The popularity of organ donation and the numbers of donations are growing rapidly in the United States. However, there is still a substantial need for organ donation. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “116,441 people are waiting for an organ,” and “18 people will die each day waiting for an organ” (“Home”). These statistics could still be lessened.
Another way that organ and tissue donation is beneficial is because people can decide to have their body and organs donated to science. If one decides to donate his/her body to science, it helps scientists and doctors to examine the body and come up with new ways to help cure diseases and improve lives. For example, if bodies or organs were not donated to science experiments, then researchers would have a hard time finding cures to diseases and expanding their knowledge of the organs. Organ donation to medical research helps improve education, save lives, and improve the quality of life. Not all organs are able to be donated or transferred to another patient, so by donating one’s body to research it can help researchers find new cures and treatments for diseases. Donating your organs can also help in school settings where students in medical school are preparing to become a doctor. Organ and tissue donation is very beneficial to many when it is donated to research and science.
Organ and tissue donation is also beneficial in providing humans with scientific knowledge as seen in the exhibit Body World. Body World is an exhibit that people can go to and see human bodies on display. People donate their bodies to Body World for scientific research and for people to see what the human body looks like on a completely new level. The bodies are preserved through plastination, which allows viewers to see the inside of the human body. According to authors of the article “Human Body Exhibits: Public Opinion of Young Individuals and Contemporary Bioethics,” “The exhibits of plastinated cadavers and organs have attracted millions of visitors globally, while raising serious controversy about their content and purpose of implementation” (Kordali et al. 433). Body World wants to “educate the public about normal and pathological anatomy in order to amend their life-style. This could be effected by certified anatomy demonstrators in graduated steps according to the cohort’s age, education, occupation, and health status” (Kordali et al. 433). If people realize that there are precautions that they can take to help prevent them from certain diseases, they might actually follow it. Body World shows a real human’s lungs and how they have been damaged from smoking. This exhibit helps make people more aware of their body.
Tissue and organ donation is highly beneficial because it saves lives and helps further scientific research. Organ donors can be deceased or living. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Deceased donors can provide six types of organs: kidney, pancreas, liver, lungs, heart, and intestine. Deceased donors can also provide tissues (such as bones, skin, heart valves and veins) and corneas” (“About Donation and Transplantation”). Likewise, living donors can donate organs such as “the liver, lung, pancreas and intestines. It is even possible for a living person to donate a heart” (Colburn). Clearly, it only makes sense to become a tissue and organ donor because it can help lower the number of people who are waiting for organs, which, in turn, helps saves lives.
Colburn, Don. “One Life Saved. Two Lives Transformed.; Brave New World of Organ
Donation: You Don’t Have to Be Dead: [FINAL Edition] The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company, 15 June. 1999.
Web. 30 Oct. 2012.
Kordali, Panagiota, et al. “Human Body Exhibitions: Public Opinion of Young Individuals and
Contemporary Bioethics.” Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy 34.5 (2012): 433. Academic OneFile. Web. 30 Oct. 2012.
Smith, Evan. “Bloody Risks.” Risk Management 58.8 (2011): 10. Academic OneFile. Web. 29
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “About Donation & Transplantation.”