Organ donation myths dispelled

Kate Snyder and Kate Snyder

There are many myths surrounding organ donation. Some people fear doctors will see them only for their organs, others think it goes against religious values. But one group on campus is looking to dispel these rumors.

The on-campus organization Students for Organ Donation is less about recruitment and more about education.

“It’s mostly a communication type of process,” said Lee Meserve, the adviser for the program.

The group meets once a month on Wednesdays. One of the activities members do is write cards for children waiting for organs. They have also done fundraisers at football games in concessions. Funds go to the national Organ Procurement meeting in Detroit.

“Our purpose is to educate people about organ donation, there are a lot of myths,” said Vice President Elyssa Northey.

One of the most common myths is that if an organ donor is in an accident, the doctor won’t try as hard to save them.

Another myth is that most religions forbid organ donation. According to Meserve only a handful of religions absolutely don’t allow for donations, and they are very obscure.

Megan Greenwald, the president of the group, also said there are those who think they would be unable to have an open-casket funeral if they donate organs. That is also not true.

Along with these myths, Meserve said one of the biggest reasons why people don’t donate their organs is because they don’t understand the process.

The group wants to let people know that their parts can go on, he said.

“There’s a recipient list that’s a mile long,” he said, and “Putting the parts in a box and burying them in the ground doesn’t make much sense.”

Donation can improve quality of life for a number of people. Bone, skin, and corneas can all come from one person, along with tissue, tendons, ligaments, arteries, veins, and bone marrow, including the six main organs.

The most needed organ is kidneys, Greenwald said. Older people who have diabetes can ruin their kidneys if they don’t get it taken care of regularly, and younger people can donate for the older generation. Likewise, older people can donate as well.

There is also a need for infant doners, Greenwald said. Age doesn’t matter when it comes to donation.

Science is also currently experimenting with hand transplants.

“It seems like science fiction, but it’s pretty much what we talk about,” she said.

But Greenwald also said it’s important for students to talk to their family about registating. Though it is fairly common for college-age people to be organ donors they rarely speak to others about it.

“It’s not something that they think about, and it’s not something they talk to family members about,” Greenwald said.

Senior Laura Hoesman is an organ doner and said “Well, I figure if I’m dead, and other people will die if they don’t have my organs, then it makes sense to give them away. I’m not using them anymore.”

Most members of Students for Organ Donation are pre-nursing, pre-med, or other science majors, but anyone is welcome.

“When we talk about why we joined, people have really different stories,” Greenwald said.

Junior Kelsey Manor, a member of the organization, said “I figure I don’t need my organs when I’m gone, and someone else will be able to use them,” but that it should also be an individual decision. “If you’re not comfortable, you shouldn’t,” she said.