When an organ stops working correctly because of injury or illness, it needs to be replaced. Doctors are able to replace many organs in the body using organs from living or deceased donors. Organ transplantation sounds like a straightforward process. But the wait for a compatible donor can be long, and many myths persist and keep people from becoming organ donors.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), about 79 people receive organ transplants every day. However, an average of 22 people die every day because of a shortage in available organs. Every 10 minutes, another person is added to the national transplant waiting list. One organ donor may be able to save eight lives.
All of these statistics add up to the fact that the number of people who need an organ transplant is much greater than the number of people signed up to be organ donors.
Many myths about organ donation still exist and affect people’s decision to become donors. Understanding the organ donation process can help overcome some of the anxiety surrounding donations and transplants, according to Abhinav Humar, MD, Thomas E. Starzl Professor of Transplantation Surgery and chair of transplant surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and clinical director of the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute.