GR12: Organ Donor

I went back to United Blood Services again on December 20th, but they sent me away, saying I had to wait until the 27th for the Haitian induced restriction to be lifted. With just 4 days to go before this year and its resolutions expired, I returned to UBS once again. They poked me, took samples, checked my vitals and asked the questions again. I made it past the Haiti question, but this time I was rejected again for a different reason. This time the problem was that I had lived in England for 6 years and this time the ban is for life. According to the rules of the FDA, there is a possibility that I may have come into contact with some mad cow tainted beef and therefore I can never donate blood in the United States. (As an aside, I did ask whether it mattered if I was a vegan and they said, “Hahahaha. No, but nice try.”)

I had been counting on giving blood to satisfy this, my 12th Giving Resolution for 2012. I had no backup plan. I was genuinely worried that I would fall short of my goal. Then, like a sign, I happened to pass the DMV on my way home. Suddenly it hit me. They can reject my blood, my hair and even my sperm while I’m alive, but they won’t reject my organs and tissue when I’m dead. Even if they do, it won’t be as demoralizing because, well, I’ll be dead.

I went to the woman at the “welcome” desk (by the way, she wasn’t very welcoming) and asked if she could check to see whether I had already elected to be an organ donor. “No one has ever asked that before. I’m not sure.” Score! I asked a question that she’d never heard before and I’m sure she’d heard plenty sitting in that seat.

Turns out she could find that information and the answer was, “No”. For $25, I ordered a replacement license that will have a pink dot on it, signifying that when they scrape me up, they should handle with care.

Organ Donor

Organ Donor Facts

  • Most commonly transplanted organs are kidneys, liver, heart and lungs.
  • They’ve even cured diabetes with a pancreas transplant.
  • Tissues transplanted include skin, bone, heart valves, tendons, veins, and corneas.
  • There are 117,059 people in the US waiting for organ transplants.
  • Each day 79 people receive organ transplants and another 18 people die waiting for one.
  • Up to eight lives can be saved through organ donation and 50 improved through tissue donation.
  • Roughly 1/3 of those eligible to be donors have elected to do so.

In light of this information and the fact that these parts will simply turn to dust when I’m done with them anyway, it seems to me, not electing to be an organ donor has to be the most selfish decision anyone could make.

It’s as simple as ticking a box the next time you get your license renewed. California residents can do it online by clicking HERE¬†and all others HERE.

Giving Resolution #2 REJECTION!

Duneier in Haiti

Labadee, Haiti

I went to the donor bank with the best of intentions. I answered all the probing questions, had my blood pressure taken, got my finger pricked and temperature taken. Then with the answer to the most innocuous question of all, I was summarily rejected. Have you been out of the country in the past 12 months? “Yes, I was on a cruise that went to Jamaica, Mexico and Haiti,” I answered. “Thank you and have a nice day,” she said. Turns out Haiti is a Malaria risk and as such, if you’ve been there in the past 12 months, by federal law you cannot donate blood. Bummer!

Giving Resolution #2: Donate Blood

I was watching an episode of Breaking Bad recently where one of the main characters, a police officer, is lying in the hospital after suffering multiple gunshot wounds. In one of the scenes the camera shot sweeps across all these chairs where other cops are all donating blood to help their comrade in arms. My first thought was the one they had hoped to evoke, “wow, a brotherhood of men and women who all come together to support their fellow officers in a time of need.” Then I thought about how the rest of the hospital is filled with other people who may be in similar need of that same blood, yet no mob of supporters had appeared for any of them. I wondered, “Why hadn’t those police officers been showing up regularly to donate for all their fellow man? ” Actually, why was I picking on the police? Who was I to be critical of anyone, after all, I’ve never donated blood. Period.

Today I rectify that error.