Newberry Observer

The importance of organ donation

NEWBERRY — Sharing Hope S.C., an independent nonprofit corporation, strives to change lives through organ, eye and tissue donations and actively provides organ and tissue donor services to 62 hospital throughout the state, with Newberry County Memorial Hospital being one of those hospitals.

Media Relations Coordinator at Sharing Hope S.C. Mark Johnson said one of the biggest misconceptions about organ donation is that doctors won’t work to save someone if they know that they are an organ donor.

“Some people are afraid if emergency room doctors know you’re an organ donor, they won’t work as hard to save you. That is completely false. The number one priority of the medical professionals is to save your life. It is only when death is imminent or pronounced that an organ procurement organization, such as Sharing Hope S.C. (which covers South Carolina), becomes involved,” Johnson said. “Another misconception is that one’s religion prohibits organ donation. All major organized religions approve of organ and tissue donation and consider it an act of charity.”

Johnson added that in rare cases infants can receive lifesaving transplants at just days old, but said that in most cases infants need to reach at least 36 weeks before undergoing a transplant.

“In 2017, almost 2,000 transplants (1,899) were performed in the U.S. on children 17 years old and younger. In South Carolina, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is the only transplant center in the state, and it performed 21 transplants on children 17 or younger,” he said.

Currently, there are 1,993 children, 17 years old and younger, on the national transplant waiting list. In South Carolina, there are 12 children on the waiting list at MUSC (four kidney, eight heart), according to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) data as of Jan. 31, 2018.

With an increase in organ donors, Sharing Hope S.C. also works alongside Donate Life South Carolina to increase awareness about the need for more organ, eye and tissue donors.

Up to 25 organs and tissues can be donated for transplantation. Organs that can be transplanted include the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestines. Transplantable tissues include blood, blood vessels, bones, bone marrow, cartilage, connective tissues, eyes, heart valves and skin.

“One person can save the lives of up to eight people through organ donation and improve the lives of 75 or potentially more through tissue and cornea donation. Many of our donor family members tell us that knowing their loved one became a donor is comforting to them, knowing other lives were saved out of their loss,” Johnson said.

There are several ways to register your legal authorization to be a donor including:

1.) At any SCDMV office or on the SCDMV web site, www.SCDMVonline.com, when obtaining, renewing or changing your driver’s license/ID information.

2.) On the registry website www.DonateLifeSC.org. This is the official and secure Donate Life South Carolina (DLSC) website.

3.) Individuals can also register using the iPhone Health App which places the individual in the National Donor Registry and ultimately in the South Carolina registry.

For more information on organ donation, visit DonateLifeSC.org.

By Kelly Duncan

kduncan@newberryobserver.com

Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.