By Devin Simmons
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday April 22, 2003
Online permission slip lets students make the donation decision now
Seventeen Americans died today because they didn't get the organ they needed, according to the Donor Network of Arizona.
With a new statewide online registry, the first of its kind in the nation, UA students are getting the chance to make a difference.
Before the installation of the online registry system officials were required to ask the families of the deceased for permission to take an organ. But now the online registry acts as a person's informed consent, saving valuable time and dodging difficult emotions that come during a moment of tragedy, said Kimi Petrick, a communication senior and student representative for the donor network.
"This takes the hard choice away from the family," Petrick said.
Petrick, along with members of a new student organization called Youth for Organ Donation Awareness, have set up a table on the UA Mall where students can sign up for the online registry.
"It's a little morbid, talking about death," Petrick said. "By coming out here we can help people to understand it."
People between the ages of 18 and 25 are the most likely to die with organs that are viable for transplants, said David Caretto, a bio-chemistry senior and vice president of YODA. But they are the least likely to donate, he added.
People have this image that a transplant team is hovering over them when they die, greedily waiting to take their organs from them. But this is not the case, it's about saving lives, Caretto said.
"People are afraid, they are afraid of death," said Petrick. "Young people especially don't like to face the idea of their own mortality."
President Pete Likins, a registered donor, took a moment yesterday afternoon to sign up for the online registry.
"This is another step in the process that saves valuable time," he said. "There are people in critical need and we should want to donate as a matter of humanity."
It takes a lot of people who are willing to donate in order to get a good organ, Likins said. People do not usually die in ideal circumstances, where their organs are salvageable, and that is why it is important for there to be a large number of people willing to donate, he added.
Only 1 percent of all available organs are actually usable, Petrick said. But the organs and tissue from one person can benefit as many as 50 other people.
"It's obviously a good thing," said Alexis Lewinger, a psychology junior who signed up for the registry. "You get to help out fellow people."
For those interested in signing up, the donor network will have a table out on the Mall for the rest of the week.
To register for organ donation online go to www.AZDonorRegistry.org, or to get more information about the program go to www.dnaz.org.
For more information about YODA email firstname.lastname@example.org.