Donate Life luncheon held at Paris church

ORGAN DONOR MONTH — Paris Presbyterian Church held its annual Donate Life luncheon recently to encourage those attending to consider organ donation and discuss their final wishes with their families. -- Summer Wallace-Minger

PARIS — Paris Presbyterian Church held its annual Donate Life luncheon April 5 in observance of Organ Donor Month.

Center for Organ Recovery and Education representatives Patty Noah and Chelsie Sobecki discussed the myths and truths surrounding organ donation, noting that some may believe that people in critical condition would be allowed to die in order to harvest their organs, that organ donation makes a body unsuitable for an open-casket funeral or that an organ donor’s family may be responsible with costs incurred during the organ donation process — none of which are true, the pair said.

Doctors and nurses are required by the Hippocratic oath to “do no harm” and to expend all effort necessary to save a person’s life, regardless of whether they are a donor. The possibility of donation isn’t addressed until it is certain that a person cannot be saved. It was stressed that the family is involved with the decision every step of the way.

It was also noted that organ donors are treated as if they are having surgery, and are treated “with great respect” by the surgeons removing the organs or tissue, and the team holds a moment of silence before beginning the surgery in memory of the donor and to honor their life. Like someone having surgery, any incisions are closed up. Donating organs doesn’t preclude an open-casket funeral.

Once the decision is made to donate an organ or tissue, the family is not responsible for costs associated with donation. CORE — or another one of the 57 other federally designated nonprofit organ procurement organizations — will be responsible for the costs associated with donation.

Those attending were urged to consider that, not only could they donate organs, but also tissue, and no one is too old or too ill to donate. Even those with hepatitis may now donate, because the disease is considered treatable. Those considering donation also are encouraged not only to indicate that they are donors on their driver’s license — CORE and other organ procurement organizations have access to the data base of drivers who have checked “organ donor” — but to discuss their wishes at length with their family and loved ones.

It is easier on families making the decision whether to donate a loved one’s organs and tissues when they know what their loved one wanted — knowing that a loved one wanted to be an organ donor and that they will be treated with respect and honor while not incurring further expense to the family makes the decision easier.

Those attending were encouraged to consider donation — and to think about the lives of those they knew who were touched by donation, whether by giving or receiving the gift of life.


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