The debate over the health care system in America has become a hot button issue with the Supreme Court’s review of the affordable care bill, aka “Obamacare.”
Although a decision is not expected until June, controversy and media coverage have already surrounded the debate and its potential consequences.
There are, of course, other medical-related issues in the news outside of the health care bill: USA Today recently reported that health care statistics allow local governments to tailor preventative care measures to their communities’ health needs in order to decrease costs.
Despite the changes that health care in the United States may be undergoing, there is one area which can still benefit from improvement: organ donation.
April is National Donate Life Month, the time when we should all ask ourselves, “Why am I not an organ donor?”
College students are known for their dedication to community service, as over a quarter of all college students volunteer in some capacity.
But a 2005 study revealed that only 11% of college students are registered to be organ donors.
If we as a young student population are so dedicated to helping others, why not commit to help others in the most selfless and beneficial way possible – by saving someone else’s life?
There are a lot of myths about organ donation floating around, so let’s get a few facts straight first:
• Currently more than 113,000 people are waiting for organs in the United States, and a new name is added to that list every ten minutes.
• About 79 people receive organ transplants daily, but 18 people die every day while waiting for organs to become available.
• A single donor can save the lives of up to eight people through organ donation and enhance many others through tissue and cornea donation.
How’s that for helping others?
Despite organ donation’s obvious benefits, however, only about 38% of Americans are registered donors. And college students are often considered prime organ donation candidates – we’re young, healthy and, unfortunately, more prone to accidents.
With the severe shortage of organs, imagine how much good we could do if all college students registered.
There’s no real reason not to register to donate: Anyone can register to be a donor, and there’s no cost to you or your family.
Other common myths, such as doctors not working as hard to save your life or not being able to donate for religious grounds, are also untrue, as transplant doctors work separately from those in the emergency room and most major religions support organ donation as an act of love and kindness.
Registering as a donor is easy to do, too – you can list yourself as an organ donor on your driver’s license, in addition to telling your family of your decision and signing up in your state’s registry.
Statistically, every one of us will be affected by organ donation, either by needing an organ ourselves or knowing someone who needs an organ transplant.
If we as college students want to make a difference in someone else’s life, what better way to do so than to become an organ donor? As you suffer through your allergies and final exams this April, consider making the best out of National Donate Life Month and becoming an organ donor.
Eight people will be forever grateful.
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