Be an organ donor
One of the greatest gifts each of us can make is to help another person. One way to do so is to be an organ donor. More than 75,000 Americans are in need of an organ transplant. Every day 15 of them die waiting.
Most of us are conceptually in agreement with organ donations, but given the circumstances surrounding a death, for one reason or another, a deceased’s desire to be a donor is not always implemented.
The purpose of this column is to request each and every one of you to cut out the Organ and Tissue Donation form in this column and put it in your wallet. Tell your family what your wishes are about donating your organs to save lives. Also see http://www.cmanet.org. Get beyond a “Yeah, I am going to do that.”
HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE
Better yet, there is a form prepared by the California Medical Association called An Advanced Health Care Directive.
The Directive allows you to specify your health care wishes. You may appoint a health care agent to make health care decisions should you be unable to do so for yourself and can give instructions in advance as to your wishes. The form includes an organ and tissue donation election. It should be signed in front of witnesses and notarized.
The form can be purchased from CMA Publications, P. O. Box 7690, San Francisco, CA 94120-7690, Phone: (800) 882-1CMA, Internet: http://www.cmanet.org.
I will send you a form. No charge. I encourage you to do it for yourself, your family, and for someone you don’t even know.
The Directive replaces the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care but that form remains valid. Even if you are uncomfortable being a donor, completing an Advance Health Care Directive is an important part of your estate planning.
If you are interested in donating some or all of your organs on your death, it is as simple as filling out the form below.
The following is sufficient for you to become an organ or tissue donor:
THIS IS A LEGALLY BINDING DOCUMENT
According to the guidelines of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, I choose, upon my death to:
A ______ Donate any of my organs, tissues, or parts
B ______ Donate a pacemaker (date implanted ______________________)
C ______ Donate parts, tissues, or organs listed ______________________
D ______ Donate my entire body
E ______ _ Transplantation _ Medical Research _ Both
F ______ Not donate any organs, parts, tissues or pacemaker
Witness Signature Date
_ Discussed with affected parties ___________
Put this form with your driver’s license. When you renew your driver’s license you will receive a similar form along with a little pink A DONOR dot that you stick on the front of your driver’s license – Or affix your own pink dot. Make certain that your closest family members understand your wishes and encourage them to resist the temptation to not honor your desires at the time of your death.
The awkwardness of the subject should not deter you. Even if you don’t have a will and are relatively young, and in particular if you are relatively young, complete a donor directive form, preferably both of the forms above.
You may save a life.
Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter-Simon, with offices in Truckee and Reno.