Community Services

Facts & Myths About Donation

Myths About Donation:

If I am in an accident and the hospital staff knows I am a donor, the medical team will not try to save my life.

Fact: Organ, eye and tissue recovery takes place only after all efforts to save your life have been exhausted and death has been legally declared. The medical staff providing treatment at a hospital is completely separate from the donor program and transplant teams. This is both required by law and is part of ethical medical practice. The transplant team is not notified until the patient has died. In cases where the person is not a registered donor, the transplant team is only notified when his/her family has provided consent.

Donation will increase the hospital charges billed to the donor’s insurance and/or his/her family.

Fact: All costs associated with donation procedures are covered by the donor program. There is no cost to the donor’s family or his/her insurance. The donor’s family (or insurance) is responsible for the costs of all medical care not related to donation and for funeral expenses – as they would be in any case.

Donation disfigures the body. It will not be possible to have an open casket funeral.

Fact: Donation does not disfigure the body. It is a surgical procedure performed in a sterile operating room. The person’s body is treated with the same care, dignity and respect as any surgical patient. When bone is donated, synthetic prostheses are implanted to maintain skeletal structure. Skin donation may give the appearance of a light sunburn but in cases where there is going to be an open viewing, it is taken from the person’s back and so it is not apparent. Donation does not interfere with funeral plans because there is no disfigurement and no obvious suturing.

There are age limits on donation.

Fact: There is no age limit on who can donate. A person’s physical condition and an assessment by the donor program staff at the time of death determine whether he/she can be an organ, eye and/or tissue donor. From newborns to senior citizens, people of all ages can help to save and improve lives through donation.

Quick Facts:

  • The donation process may take 12 – 36 hours (sometimes more), due to the matching process and the delicate surgery involved.
  • The selection of recipients is based on many factors. Working with the United Network for Organ Sharing, the organization that manages the national transplant waiting list, the procurement coordinator will contact the transplant center(s) of the recipient(s) who match the donated organs. There is no discrimination because of age, sex, race or financial status when determining who receives an organ.
  • After the recovery, the medical examiner or the funeral home that you chose will be contacted to pick up your loved one’s body.
  • Sometimes there are delays at the request of the medical examiner to conduct an autopsy. Please notify the LAORA staff of any special needs for the funeral arrangements.
  • Donation will immediately change the life of each recipient and those who love them as organs are transplanted within 4 – 48 hours after they have been recovered.
  • Tissue and cornea donation can also result in a life-enhancing transplant and may take place weeks or even years after the donation. A single tissue donor can save or enhance the lives of hundreds of people.

Benefits of tissue transplantion:

Bones: Avoid amputation of a limb
Corneas: Restore sight to the blind or near blind
Heart Valves: Replace defective heart valves among infants
Skin: Heal burns, resist infection and recover from abdominal surgery
Tendons: Allow people to move and walk without pain
Veins: Improve circulation and prevents loss of limbs

  • You will receive a letter four to six weeks after the donation with general information about the recipients.
  • Donation will extend the value of your loved one’s life. Studies have shown that one in three families who decline consent for donation regret their decision.

For more information about organ donation in video format please click here.