Trust debunks myths on donating organs

THINKING you're too old or too unhealthy are two of the greatest myths preventing people registering as organ donors, according to the Heart and Lung Transplant Trust.

Vice-president Louisa Walsh said many people had a misconception their organs would not be wanted, but that ultimately this decision should be reached by a doctor.

"Doctors will undertake a full assessment of anyone wanting to donate organs," she said.

"When the time comes, doctors will make that decision."

Ms Walsh said even if people were too old or sick to donate organs, they would likely be able to donate tissue.

Ms Walsh said another common misconception was that donating organs was prohibited by major religions, when in fact all major religions in Australia supported the practice.

"In the vast majority of cases it is supported," she said.

Ms Walsh said it was vital that people considering organ donor informed loved ones of their decision.

She said that the choice to donate organs was ultimately made by the families of the deceased person, regardless of whether they were on the organ donor list.

But she said families who knew of their loved one's wishes before they died were much more likely to consent for the organ to be donated.

“We know if someone has signed onto the register and had the chat with the family the consent rate is over 90 per cent," she said.

DonateLife Victoria communication advisor David Conford said it was important to remember organ donors had to die in hospital in specific circumstances. He said less than one per cent of people died in these conditions.

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