Myths about organ donation

By Rabbi Marc Gellman, Tribune Content Agency on

Take my liver, please!

Q: Dear Rabbi Gellman, my name is (K) and I am writing to ask a favor of you. I am hoping you might consider writing a column on organ donation. I do not know how you feel about it, though as a faithful reader of your column I would think you might be in favor of it. I have been an organ donor for years and now I am in need of a heart transplant. I have included information on the National Donor Sabbath program. Thank you for your time and your very interesting and heartwarming columns. PS, please include me in your prayers. -- K from Levittown, NY

A: First of all, dear K, you are in my prayers right now. May the gift and miracle of healing find you speedily and lift you up to joy and life abundant. Amen

The website for the National organ donor Sabbath, which this year falls on the weekend of November 15-17, is from the government's Department of Health and Human Services. It is

There are many myths about organ donation, which the website clarifies in a truthful manner:

Anyone, regardless of age or medical condition, can be an organ donor. What matters is the health and condition of your organs when you die. Some people fear that if they become donors the doctors will not try to save their life so that they can harvest their organs. This is not true at all. Doctors heal until healing is impossible and only accept organ donations from people who are brain dead. Being in a coma is not enough. Only brain death is death. Rich or famous people on the waiting list do not get organs faster. A national computer system matches donated organs to recipients. The factors used in matching include blood type, time spent waiting, other important medical information, how sick the person is, and geographic location. Race, income, and celebrity are NEVER considered. Open casket funerals are not a problem for organ donors. There is no cost for organ donation, and nobody can sell your organs after they are donated.


Your donations can save up to eight people and there are over 124,000 people waiting for a donation to save their life or their eyesight. You, each one of you, can be an angel of healing. Here is a list from the website of just some religious teachings about organ donation.


Organ, eye, and tissue donation is considered an act of charity and love, and transplants are morally and ethically acceptable to the Vatican. (Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, no. 86)



swipe to next page



9 Chickweed Lane Strange Brew Breaking Cat News Walt Handelsman Wumo Wizard of Id