Life is a sentence. It begins with a capital letter, has something in between, and then a punctuation mark at the end. Organ donation allows part of our physical body to be of use to someone else for short time after we have passed. It is a beautiful gift to be able to make someone else's life a little longer. This gives them more time to love, more time to laugh, and more time to heal spiritually from the pain that this life sometimes brings. Organ donation is the last gesture of love that we can make on earth. This essay will explore the organ donation as a social and humanitarian responsibility.
Currently, there are approximately 113,984 people who will die soon if they do not receive a donor organ before their time is up if (Organdonor.gov). Every ten minutes a new person is added to the waiting list. An average of 18 people die each day waiting for the gift of life (Organdonor.gov). These numbers represent more than statistics, they represent real people. They represent people with families, who once had jobs and who come from all walks of life. However, they have one thing in common, their life hangs in the balance waiting for someone to step up and provide give them life when their life is over.
Death is a fact of life. It is a fact of life on earth that applies to every living thing. It is our natural instinct to attempt to sustain life for as long as possible. Life has value and worth, perhaps, because at heart, we all know that it is so short. Almost everyone recognizes the sanctity of life and the true gift that it represents to every one of us. A majority of religions around the world recognized the temporal status of our physical bodies. Many believe that once our physical bodies die it is our spirit that lives on in another realm. This viewpoint considers the physical body to be little more than a shell to hold the spiritual being. Those that do not believe that some part of it lives on after death still recognize that the physical body is temporary.
Thinking about what happens to us after we die is not pleasant for anyone. It is not pleasant to think about the fact that one day we will die and decompose, but it is a fact. We spend our entire lives trying to find some form of meaning or purpose for our existence. Yet, in the end we all meet the same fate by some means. Only the most cynical would deny a desire to help others as much as possible while on earth. Organ donation is the ultimate humanitarian responsibility that we have. The harvest of the organs of one person can save the lives of eight people (Organdonor.gov).
Organ donation means that 80% of those awaiting a transplant of a vital organ will still be alive five years after the transplant (Organdonor.gov). Many of them will live much longer. Children receiving a transplant will be likely to grow into adulthood and become contributing members of society. Thus far, this research has focused on lifesaving organ donation and the donations of vital organs. However, organ donation is not just for lifesaving purposes.
Organs that can be donated include the cornea, skin, bones, veins, and tendons (Donatelifeny.org). Those in need of these type of transplants are not necessarily in danger of losing their life. They have a life limiting condition that keeps them from being productive members of society. For instance, a cornea transplant can help to replace a diseased or damaged cornea for someone who is blind. A tendon can restore mobility to someone who cannot work due to injury or disease. The veins can be transplanted to increase blood circulation for those with disease or injury. Skin can be donated to burn victims, for abdominal wall repair, rotator cuff repair, or for breast reconstruction after mastectomy. Heart valves can be used to repair heart health for those that cannot work due to heart conditions. The bones can be utilized by those who must have spinal fusion, trauma related reconstruction, have had their bones removed due to tumors, bone disease, fractures, or other defects. Donated bones can help restore mobility, decrease pain and prevent amputation. Cartilage can also be harvested from donors to be used for joint restoration and joint resurfacing. This also restores mobility and decreases pain for those in need (Donatelifeny.org).
As one can see, not every person who needs an organ transplant is in a life threatening condition. Of course, the emphasis is placed on those who are in dire conditions. Many people did not know that organ donation could help those that are not in life threatening circumstances. It is important to donate organs to help these types of persons in need not only because it restores their quality of life, but also because it has economic benefits for society. Those who cannot work due to a condition such as those mentioned are a tax on society. They must often live on Social Security Disability due to their condition. Donating organs to help someone restore mobility, reduce pain, or overcome other limitations can put them back to work and make them contributing taxpaying citizens, rather than remaining dependent on the labors of others. This makes organ donation a socially responsible action from both an economic and social standpoint.
Now let us examine a more logical reason for donating organs. Organ donation also makes economic sense from another standpoint as well. Those that face degenerative diseases often incur extremely high long-term medical costs. While on the list waiting for a transplant, many patients experience numerous short- and long-term hospital stays. For patience that cannot pay their own expenses, they must depend on the remainder of society to care for them. Expenses related to those waiting for organ transplants dries up Medical Insurance costs as well. In 2007, Medicare spent $8.6 million on the treatment and medication needed for dialysis patients alone (Painter).
If more kidneys were available to organ donation, many of these patients could get off dialysis and no longer continue to drive up Health Care costs. People needing kidney dialysis is only one example among many of how organ donation could improve an already taxed Health System. Organ donation can reduce strain on the economy, allowing those that are still alive to have a better life. It makes sense today made organs, particularly if one takes into consideration those that will be left behind when you are gone. From an economic standpoint, organ donation not only helps those that are waiting lifesaving donations, it also helps the remainder of society as well. Organ donation is a gift that goes beyond those that are in need and extends to the rest of society.
The United States government understands the importance of organ donation both from an economic and humanistic standpoint. The government has funded in setup a branch specifically designed to handle organ donation registration, and the expedition of organs to those that need them once they become available. The U.S. is not the only country to consider organ donation an important topic for society. The United Kingdom has set up a similar program to that which exists in the United States to help expedite organs to those on the waiting list (Directgov UK).
Some protest the involvement of governments in organ donor programs. However, when one considers the economic benefits and the quality of life improvement for those that receive the organs, it only supports the social responsibility of organ donation. Another reason for government involvement in organ donation promotion and the organ donation process is to assure quality into provide protection against unscrupulous acts. They have strict standards that must be followed in order to determine that a person is indeed dead, that they have indeed donated their organs, and that organ harvesting is performed in a way that assures the suitability for transplant of the organs into the final recipient. Government regulation is necessary in such a sensitive operation is organ donation.
In conclusion, organ donation makes sense from any standpoints. It may seem like a gruesome topic at first, but when one really considers the costs and benefits of organ donation, the decision to donate ones organs is a clear choice. Organ donation is a socially responsible action in terms of making one less contribution to society. Organ donation is a way to do one last act of kindness for human kind. Organ donation is supported by many people from governments to major religious organizations. They considered it an act of compassion and very few religious orders disagree with this position (Organtransplants.org).
Another thing to consider aside from the social and economic benefits of work and organ donation is to put yourself, or one of your family members, on the list of those waiting for a transplant. It…