Register to be an organ and tissue donor, help save a life

Think back to when you first got your driver’s license. You were asked whether you wanted to be an organ donor and if the answer was ‘yes,’ all you had to do was check a box and sign your name. Until 2006, the decision to be an organ donor was not legally binding, meaning that in the event that you died, family consent was required to fulfill your wishes of being an organ donor even if you had checked that box and signed your name.

In 2006, a new law went into effect under Secretary of State Jesse White’s task force on donor authorization: the First-Person Consent Law. Under this law, a person’s indication to be an organ and tissue donor is now a legally binding decision, one that does not require family permission or consent under any circumstances.

This law ensures that a person’s wish to be an organ donor can no longer be revoked/overridden by family members who may or may not be in the best state of mind to make important decisions such as to not let a loved one donate their organs. More importantly, it was estimated that many more lives would be saved this way.

But for those of you who initially registered as an organ donor when you first got your driver’s license, or anytime before 2006, then you are not legally bound to be an organ donor. Because the law changed in 2006, people are now required to register online if they want to be an organ and tissue donor. Those who already indicated that on their licenses, but who have not registered online, are still organ donors, but their decision can be overridden by a family member.

While there are nearly 80 million Americans who are organ, tissue and eye donors, it’s still not enough for the number of patients on the waiting list, especially if people who think they will be able to donate their organs are not registered online and therefore aren’t legally bound. On April 3, more than 101,000 people were registered on the waiting list for an organ in the U.S., and that number only increases.

April is National Donate Life Month and becoming an organ donor is one of the biggest humanitarian acts you can possibly do, especially considering all you have to do is register online on your state’s organ/tissue donor registry. This would be a confidential computerized database and registering will ensure your wishes to be an organ donor will be honored.

You have the power to possibly save someone’s life someday, and offer them a chance to live a healthy life. Just putting your name on that list of donors is a humanitarian act.

According to The News-Gazette, a donor registration drive has been scheduled at Provena Covenant Medical Center, Urbana, in the main lobby from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 17 and April 27. That’s your chance.

Please consider registering.