Be an organ donor; register on driver's license

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 4/14/98.

Over three million people have expressed their wish to be an organ donor by signing up on the National Health Service Organ Donor register, according to figures released by the Department of Health.

Since the launch of the register in October 1994, registration forms have been available in post offices, doctor offices, pharmacies and other public places.

ďMany people carry an organ donor card, but have yet to actually register their wish to be an organ donor by putting their name on the NHS Organ Donor Register,Ē John Horam, parlimentary secretary for health, said.

The register is a permanent electronic record of peopleís donor wishes, and it is accessible to hospitals day and night through local transplant coordinators. Bereaved relatives are always consulted, but it is easier for them to make a decision about organ donation when they know their loved one had expressed a wish to be a donor.

Organ and tissue donation is not considered until all lifesaving efforts have failed and death has been legally declared. The doctors and nurses who try to save a life are separate from those involved with donation and transplan-tation.

Donation costs the family nothing. All costs are borne by procurement agencies and passed on to transplant centers.

Donation does not delay funeral plans, nor does it rule out an open-casket funeral. Donation is a surgical procedure; the body is not disfigured in any way.

For more information on donations, call 1-888-5-DONATE.

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