The gift of life

Published 4:38 pm Friday, April 14, 2017

April is Donate Life Month and this year Vidant Beaufort Hospital is proud to be participating again in the Workplace Partnership for Life Campaign, a national initiative that was created in 2001 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Hospital Organ Donation Campaign is a special effort of the Workplace Partnership for Life. Hospitals across the country work with donation organizations and their state hospital associations to conduct donation registration drives, social media campaigns, and other events to raise awareness and register donors within their hospital facilities and communities. Currently, 1.997 hospitals are enrolled in the campaign. They work with all 58 of the nation’s organ procurement organizations, 34 Donate Life America state teams, and 27 hospital associations.

2017 at a glance:

  • As of April 12, the total number of men, women and children on the transplant waiting list is 118,053. Of those, 75,813 people are active waiting list candidates.
  • So far in 2017, 8,365 organ transplants have been performed.
  • As of April 11, there have been 3,944 new donors registered.

Sometimes, myths and misperceptions about organ, eye, and tissue donation can prevent someone from signing up. Imagine the lives we could save if everyone knew the true facts about donation.

MYTH: I have a medical condition, so I can’t be a donor.

FACT: Anyone, regardless of age or medical history, can sign up to be a donor. The transplant team will determine at an individual’s time of death whether donation is possible. There are very few conditions that would prevent a person from becoming a donor — such as HIV infection, active cancer, or a systemic infection. You should still consider registering. Even with an illness, you may be able to donate your organs or tissues.


MYTH: I’m too old to be a donor.

FACT: There’s no age limit to organ donation. To date, the oldest donor in the U.S. was age 92. What matters is the health and condition of your organs when you die.


MYTH: If they see I’m a donor at the hospital, they won’t try to save my life.

FACT: When you are sick or injured and admitted to a hospital, the one and only priority is to save your life. Period. Donation doesn’t become a possibility until all lifesaving methods have failed.


MYTH: My family will have to pay for the donation.

FACT:  There is no cost to donors or their families for organ or tissue donation.


How do I indicate my decision to donate?

Sign up on North Carolina’s state donor registry either at the motor vehicle office or start online at It’s that easy. After you’ve registered, tell your family of your wishes and save them from making the decision at a difficult time.

There is no greater gift than the Gift of Life. One of the greatest success stories in modern medicine is the ability to transplant organs and tissues. Because of organ donation, may people with life-threatening illnesses can look forward to a future and a second chance at life. Others can experience a better quality of life through donated tissues such as corneas, skin, bone, and heart valves. According to the OPTN/SRTR Annual Report from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), 95 percent of U.S. adults support organ donation but only 48 percent are actually signed up as donors.

Vidant Beaufort Hospital has used the following methods to provide education for its staff, patients, and community:

  • Flyers on hospital bulletin boards;
  • Organ donation education during every employee’s hospital orientation and again annually prior to evaluations;
  • Tent cards in the hospital cafeteria and gift shop;
  • Facebook postings;
  • Articles in the Beaufort Buzz (Vidant Beaufort’s employee newsletter);
  • Providing pamphlets on organ donation at community health fairs, senior expos, etc.

How can you help?

While more than 120 million people have registered as donors, more are needed — because very few die in a way that make them eligible to donate. The following graph demonstrates that, despite advances in medicine and technology, and increased awareness of organ donation and transplantation, there continues to a gap between supply and demand.

As Vidant Beaufort Hospital’s liaison with Carolina Donor Services, I would like to encourage each and every one of you to consider registering as an organ donor if you haven’t done so already. Together, we can make such a positive difference in so many people’s lives.

Lynne Fisher, RN, MSN, is a quality nurse with Vidant Beaufort Hospital.