Expert dispels common myths about organ donation

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SALT LAKE CITY – During the past three months, you've met many people who have received, are waiting to receive, or who have donated organs.

In this edition of Gift of Hope, FOX 13 News takes a look at some of the myths surrounding organ donation. See below for four common myths and a response from Alex McDonald of Intermountain Donor Services.

Myth 1: If I have ‘yes’ on my driver license - will the emergency room do everything they can to save me?

“They're not looking for donor cards or anything else, the only thing if they're looking through your wallet or purse, it's for your insurance card. So that would go against everything doctors and nurses have ever been trained to do is to let somebody go.”

Myth 2: I’m too old to be a donor.

“There's nothing in nature that says organs shut down at 80 or 90 or 50, and if you're literally going to die by midnight tomorrow without that liver transplant, would you rather have a functioning 75 or 80-year-old liver or none?"

Myth 3: If I can’t donate blood, I can’t be an organ donor.

“There's really no medical reasons not to donate just because you can't donate blood."

Myth 4: I can’t have an open casket funeral service after donating organs.

“If people choose to have an open casket funeral, that’s an option that's still available to them. All major religions support donation, or at least[leave it] up to the individual to make that choice."

During this series you've heard how organ donation helped people like FOX 13 News’ Jeff Rhineer heal after losing his 28-year-old brother.

You also saw how living donation gave 4-year-old Lily a second chance at life with a new kidney, and how her organ donor felt her life enriched by donating.

There was the story of Adam's mother, Lisa, who lost her 16-year-old son - but now speaks at high schools to students about organ donation and has an extended family with the man who is alive with her son's liver.

You met six year olds Teagan and Alex, who are both waiting for a heart transplant.

It's easy to be an organ donor. Just check ‘yes’ on your driver’s license or ID card and let your family know of your wishes.

In Utah, there are currently about 800 people who are waiting for an organ donation. More than 500 of those people need a kidney and about 200 need a liver while 44 need a heart.

For more information about organ donation in Utah, click here.