ORLANDO, Fla. (KFSN) -- Each day, 20 people die waiting for a life-saving organ. And while 95 percent of Americans support organ donation, only 54 percent of them actually sign up to be donors. So why aren't more people willing to give their organs away?
Right now, more than 116-thousand Americans are waiting for an organ transplant. And, another person is added every ten minutes. But more people are waiting than donating.
Sometimes, myths about organ donation hold people back. And, there are a lot of them. The first, you are too old to be a donor. There's no age limit. To date, the oldest donor in the U.S. was 93! Another fallacy is that you can't donate if you're sick. Only a few illnesses such as HIV or certain cancers would prevent you from being a donor. But you may still be able to offer organs or tissues. So it's best to register and let the transplant team decide.
Maria Mountis, DO, from the Cleveland Clinic said, "Everyone can be an organ donor, and I think everyone can offer the gift of sight, the gift of life, to lots of individuals."
Some people think their families will have to pay for the donations when they pass, but this is also false. There's no cost for being a donor. Another concern, you won't be able to have an open casket funeral. Most of the time, this is not true. And, the last myth, if you're an organ donor, doctors won't try to save you. Medical teams are trained to keep you alive first. Donation isn't even a possibility until all lifesaving methods have failed.
The United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS, says you must die in a hospital so that a ventilator can maintain your organs for transplantation. However, if you die at home, you can still be a tissue or a cornea donor. To learn more about how to register to be a donor, visit: https://organdonor.gov/register.html or www.unos.org.