My blog articles for the past two months have dealt with Power of Attorneys for Health Care Decisions and Living Wills. Both documents contain a paragraph dealing with organ donation. If you check yes, you are indicating that in the event medical professionals determine that you are an organ donor, you agree to the use of life-sustaining procedures, including a ventilator for the sole purpose and time period required to complete the organ donation.
It is my experience that many clients who come to my office to discuss estate planning have not considered the option of becoming an organ donor before we discuss the matter. There are three ways a person can become an organ donor in the state of Iowa. The first is to agree to become an organ donor when you renew your driver’s license. By checking the yes box you are consenting for organ, tissue and eye donation in Iowa for transplant only. The second way is to register online at www.iowadonornetwork.org. The third way is to call the Iowa Donor Network at 800-831-4131 to request a form to fill out. By registering online or by using the Iowa Donor Network form, you have the additional option of indicating that the donation can be used for research only, transplant only, or both. You can also indicate if you are honoring another person by your registration. Finally, you can make a direct donation to someone on the wait list and gift your organs, tissues and/or eyes solely to such person. Iowa law allows minors to register. However, the minor’s parents or legal guardians will have the final decision in regards to donation. There is no requirement that a person register both with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Iowa Donor Network.
By registering, no other family member can override your donation choice. It is highly recommended that a person who registers advises his or her family members as to registration and his or her desires. Finally, the registration can be revoked at any time by calling the Iowa Donor Registry or by having your driver’s license reissued.
There is no cost to the donor or the donor’s family for the donation. After a donor is declared to be brain dead, the organ procurement organization is responsible for the charges for the remaining time in the ICU and/or the OR.
The Iowa Donor Network list the following statistics regarding organ donation:
- Every ten minutes a new person is added to the National Organ Transplant Wait List.
- An average of twenty-two people die each day while waiting.
- On average, eighty-one transplants take place every day in the U.S.
- In 2014, the lives of 29,532 Americans were saved by organ donation.
- One donor can save up to nine lives through organ donation and save and heal more than 100 lives through tissue donation.
If you desire more information regarding organ donation, I refer you to the Iowa Donor Network website set forth above.
Written by: James D. Beatty