Sunday, April 06, 2008

LifeSharers approach to organ donation

From the Rapid City Journal in South Dakota:

There are more than 98,000 Americans waiting on organ transplant lists, and during April, which is National Donate Life Month, 700 of them will die because there aren’t enough transplantable organs for everyone who needs them.

This same month, Americans will bury or cremate 1,200 organs that could have saved those people’s lives.

An organization named LifeSharers is doing something about that waste of life with an innovative approach to organ transplantation. It not only tries to stop the terrible waste of usable organs but also helps make the transplant system fairer.

LifeSharers is based on the philosophy that if you want to be an organ recipient when you need one, you ought to be willing to be an organ donor upon your death.

That might seem self-evident to all those people who mark “donor” on their driver’s license, but, oddly enough, more than 50 percent of the organs that are transplanted in America go to people who have not agreed to be organ donors themselves when they die.

LifeSharers creates a pool of organs available first to its registered organ donors and it offers an excellent trade in the process. If you agree to donate your organs after you’re dead, it will help increase your chances of getting a transplant if you ever need one to live.

As of March 31, LifeSharers had 11,096 members, an increase of 35 percent over last year at this time. Currently, 68 LifeSharer members are on the United Network for Organ Sharing’s transplant waiting list. Of these, 65 LifeSharers members have qualified for preferred access to the organs of fellow members.

LifeSharers is a national non-profit organization. Membership is free. Everyone is welcome to join, regardless of age or pre-existing medical conditions.

Even if you’re already an organ donor, consider becoming registered with LifeSharers, because the larger its registry base, the bigger incentive it will be for others to join.

To learn more, visit its Web site at LifeSharers. It just might save your life some day.

1 comment:

Bob Aronson said...

LifeSharers is a mean, aristocratic attempt to leave the poor, undereducated, and uniformed out of the organ pool. Following is evidence of my contention.

I am a heart transplant recipient ( I got my heart from a generous stranger eight months ago. I know what it is like to be dying and what it is like to hope beyond hope that you will get an organ.

If you want to save lives through organ donation, Joining LifeSharers is not the answer. They are illusionists and what you see is not what you get. If you are a LifeSharers member and you believe in fairness and in helping all people regardless of position in life, consider resigning your membership. I offer four reasons for my admonitions.

1. Deception: According to LifeSharers, “Organ donors should get organs first.” That is what they say but it is not what they mean. Just being an organ donor is not enough; you have to be an organ donor and a member of LifeSharers. Proof? Read this quote from “Even if you are already a registered organ donor, you should join the LifeSharers network. By doing so, you will have access to organs that otherwise may not be available to you.” In other words, if you don’t join you have no access — even if you are a registered donor.

2. Insensitive, Immoral, Selfish: On the LifeSharers FAQ they ask, “Shouldn’t organs go first to the people who need them most and have been waiting longest? Their answer: “Organs should go first to the people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die…” Funny, until I wrote my last LifeSharers blog the answer started with, “NO.” But they removed the “No” when I was critical of it. LifeSharers does not care if you have only days to live. Unless you are a member of their club, you don’t get first dibs on an organ.

3. Insincere distraction. All over the U.S. there are honest programs doing what they can to promote fair and equitable organ donation. LifeSharers only hampers those efforts by confusing people. It is important to note, too, that for LifeSharers to grow large enough to have any influence and treat everyone fairly, everyone would have to join — everyone! When was the last time you heard of everyone joining anything? Besides, at their current rate of growth, about 2,000 members a year, it would take 500 years for LifeSharers to get a million members. But give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they can grow by 4,000 members a year. Then it will only take them 250 years to get to a million. There are 300 million people in the U.S.

4. Discriminatory & Unfair: If you haven’t heard about donation, have wrong information, just didn’t get around to signing up or don’t have access to a computer, LifeSharers thinks you don’t exist. If you are on the list and dying but not a member, LifeSharers isn’t interested in you. If you are an organ donor and dying, LifeSharers doesn’t care about you. Being an organ donor does not count unless you are a LifeSharers member.

Don’t be fooled by LifeSharers double talk, misdirection and truthstretching. Read and dissect what they have to say. It’s nonsense, it is unfair and it contradicts itself.

If you really want to help those in need of organs, sign a donor card, get it on your driver’s license, tell your family and then ask your family and friends to do the same. Those are the actions that will save lives. Want more information contact your local OPO or Donate Life America