How great is the need to become a registered organ, tissue and eye donor?

With more than 122,000 American’s waiting for life-saving organ transplants, the needs is incredibly high. With the advancement of technology, this number will only grow, as will the importance of becoming registered. In Nebraska alone, there are nearly 500 residents, at any given time, in need of a transplant. Statistically, 50 of those Nebraskans will die each year, because they will not receive the life-saving procedure they desperately need.  Nationally, 22 people die each day waiting for the transplant that didn't arrive in time.  This equates to over 8,000 Americans each year.


I've heard that If my doctor or someone from the hospital knows I am a registered donor, they won’t work hard to save my life...that's not true is it?

Medical care is not affected in any way by your status as a registered donor. Every attempt is made to save your life. In fact, patients must receive the most aggressive lifesaving care in order to be potential organ donors. If a patient’s heart stops during lifesaving efforts, organs cannot be transplanted. Organ and tissue donation is only considered after a physician has pronounced a person brain dead and family has been consulted.


Am I too old/young to be a donor?

Never count yourself out or sell yourself short. When a death occurs, our staff assesses many different factors to see if the potential donor is a viable candidate for recovery. Age is only one portion of those factors. 


What if I think I have a medical condition that disqualifies me from becoming a donor?

The only medical condition in the United States that currently disqualifies a person from becoming an organ, tissue and eye donor is HIV/AIDS. All other illnesses and ailments will be extensively screened to access transplantation potential. We strongly encourage everyone to become a registered donor, so the option is not left to your loved ones in the event organs, tissues and/or eye donation occurs.


Will my family incur more hospital bills and cost because of the donation?

Donors do not pay any portion of the recovery or transplantation process.


Is an open casket an option if I donate?

The body is treated with great respect and dignity throughout the process, and the donor’s appearance following donation still allows for an open-casket funeral. Once the organ and/or tissue recovery process is completed, the body is released to the donor’s family. The entire donation process is usually completed within 24 to 36 hours, and the family may then proceed with funeral arrangements.


Does my religion prohibit organ donation?

Most major religions in the United States support organ donation. For more information regarding your belief system, please reference this website,  www.organtransplants.org/understanding/religion/.


Can my family overrule my wishes to be an organ, tissue, or eye donor?

Once a person, over the age of 18, is registered, it becomes a legal and binding decision, unless that individual personally removes themselves from the state registry. No one is able to overrule this decision and the donor’s wishes to save lives will be respected. 


Will my entire body be donated to science if I become a registered donor?

NORS does not handle full body donation. If you are interested in donating your body to science, please reference this website for more information, www.DonateMyBody.org, or complete the form attached here: www.unmc.edu/media/genetics/web_version_4_06_bequeathal.pdf


Could I ever recover from brain death?

No, brain death is irreversible and is the legal definition of death. It is not a coma. Brain death occurs in patients who have suffered a severe injury to the brain and brain stem. As a result of the injury, the brain swells and obstructs its own blood supply, despite all medical efforts to prevent it. Without blood flow, brain tissue dies quickly. Mechanical devices, such as a ventilator, may maintain certain body functions, like heartbeat and respiration, for a few hours or days, but not permanently. Brain death is determined by a physician by using a strict neurological exam.


How do I register?

Registering is easy and only takes about 30 seconds. You can visit our website, www.nedonation.org, or you can register at the DMV through your driver’s license. The upside to using our website is, your name will be on the registry permanently, unless you remove it. You may forget to register at the DMV, making your wishes unknown. Both avenues are encouraged.