Northwest NEWS

June 26, 2000


From a young reader...

   Many people have the wrong idea when they hear the words "organ donor." They believe that someone has to be dead to become a donor, which is not true. There can be living donors, as well. The misconception comes from their lack of knowledge on the subject of organ donors and transplants.

   In 1999, 118 cadaver organs were donated in Washington. This number is so low because either the deceased or the family of the deceased didn't have enough knowledge about organ donation. The victim hadn't made the decision to become a donor or tell their family about their decision. The other option was that the family hadn't done prior research on the subject and were caught off guard by the death of a loved one. The final decision on whether or not the organs will be donated is the responsibility of the family. If the family had done the research, they would have known that their loved one's organs could save up to eight people.

   The information and questions about organ donations need to be presented to people of all communities. A group called the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program has already given out a lot of information. They talk to different minority groups and teach them about becoming a donor. Another group called the Sports Council for Transplants gets athletes and coaches to support organ transplants.

   I propose that elementary students should be taught about organ donation. They need to be taught what types of disease cause people to need a transplant and how they themselves can have a healthier lifestyle and stay off the transplant list. The students should also be given handouts that they can discuss with their parents.

   By having children with knowledge of organ donation, they will be prepared if the question of donation faces them.

Loren Baker, Bothell