We do living donor liver transplants where I work. As far as I know (I'm a pathologist and I usually see those patients that don't do well), they have been quite successful and this is definately a consideration. I would do it in a heartbeat for a loved one.
I see no reason not to donate organs. What a better way to pass than to know in your passing, you have saved someone else?
Yes, I'm definitely an organ donor. When I did my transplant rotation as a medical student and then as a surgical resident, there were the unfortunate few patients that didn't seem to appreciate that the transplant was an opportunity to make some changes in their lives and to get a second chance. However, for the vast majority of them and their loved ones, what a wonderful gift!
Later, after doing my trauma fellowship and having to do brain death critieria on a number of young, otherwise healthy patients, I often times found that organ donation was the only positive in an otherwise horrific situation.
Make certain that your loved ones know what your wishes are! I once told my parents during my residency that I was an organ donor on my driver's license and was appalled to learn that my mother would likely not honor my wishes. Thankfully, I'm married now, so she wouldn't be the one making the decision.
During my many months of trauma rotations in surgery residency, I saw a number of patients who were considered for organ donation after tragic accidents. The cases were heart-wrenching and the fact that a family could help someone else did ease some pain. I was, however, surprised by the number of family members who were adamantly against donating their loved one's organs. I worked in a inner city hospital and heard a few times "He came into this world with these parts and he's going to leave with them." Every time I heard that I would go home and tell my husband again that if something happened to me, I wanted everything donated.
Even if a patients driver's license is signed, the decision is still made by the family. I have not heard of anyone going to court to have a patient's wishes on organ donation honored.
I'm def. an organ donor -- my husband knows my wishes and so do my parents and siblings --
Just an additional note -- My husband used to work for a non-profit org. for cornea donations-- maybe this varies from organization to org., but even if your husband agrees to your wishes, if another family member (parent, sibling, 2nd cousin from the back hills) disagrees, they will not accept the donation.
Also to Mimicat, is Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis similar to Primary Biliary Cirrhosis of the liver? A close relative of mine suffers from this and may also someday need a liver transplant...
I am not a doctor, but from the reading I've done, these two diseases are quite similar. Primary Biliary Cirrhosis seems to affect only the bile ducts IN the liver, and is most common in women ages 35 to 60 (although can affect men too), while Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis affects the bile ducts both inside and outside the liver, and is most common in young men. The symptoms, prognosis and treatment seem quite similar for both diseases.
I am definitely an organ donor as are all my siblings. I have recently cared for a brain-injured patient whose mother is a nurse. She was very upset that her son, who was not brain dead by definition, could not be an organ donor. However, he was eligible for skin, valve, and bone donation.
Why would anyone want to throw away the empty shell after they were done using it?