The Fray’s title track “How to Save a Life” would be an awesome song about organ donation, but I checked and it’s not even closely related to that topic. Nonetheless, we all have an opportunity to save one or more lives through organ donation (even if we will not be around to enjoy seeing the benefits of our service).
When discussing your estate plan, it is important to cover the topic of organ donation. Whether you wish to be a donor or not, it is important to relay that wish to your family in order to avoid any period of indecision or potential conflict. If you wish to be a donor the most important thing you can do is convey that wish in as many ways as possible.
Some of the ways you can express this wish include, stating it on your driver’s license and Advance Health Care Directive. You should also discuss it with your family and perhaps provide them with a separate writing about how such a donation would be important to you. The key is to share the message as widely as possible.
Even if you take all of the steps above to express your wishes to be an organ donor, if your next of kin objects, the Organ Center will likely not take your organs. This may seem unfair, but from the point of view of the Organ Center they not only do not have time to engage in any conflict over the organs (even if they would win), they also want to avoid the potential public relations problem of appearing to take organs against a family’s wishes.
Some of you may be thinking, “I’m too old to donate my organs” or “my liver has too many miles on it.” The advice we provide clients is that if you are willing to be a donor, then be a donor and let the organ folks decide if they want your organs or not.
For more information on organ donation or to add your name to the Alabama Registry, please visit the Alabama Organ Center at http://alabamaorgancenter.org/
There is also a way that you can make a donation during your life, by registering to be a bone marrow donor. It is quite simple to register (I did it myself in about 30 minutes) and much to my relief it was painless (consists only of a cheek swab). For more information on how to join the marrow registry please visit: www.bethematch.org.