What Are You Afraid Of Essay

1620 words - 6 pages

What Are You Afraid Of? Ever hear about the story about the traveling businessman who blacks out after having drinks with a stranger and wakes up in the bathtub full of ice with staples in his back form having his kidney?s surgically removed? By virtue of myths like this, tragically, many patients will not live only enough to receive the transplant that would save their life. Due to medical advances the number of patients awaiting transplants rises as more lives are saved, while the number of available organs remains fixed. None out of ten people in America support organ donation; yet, less than one third of all deaths are donors (UNOS), and myths are the main cause for this shortage.Organ failing deaths can decrease if ore organ donations are made. Modern medicine has altered the definition of death and made the barrier between life and death less clear. It used to be that one was pronounced dead when their heart stopped beating and they had stopped breathing. Death today is defined not by heart beats and respiration but rather by one?s brains waves. Doctors measure these brain waves with machines known as EEG machines. When an EEG shows a flat line, this means that the patient?s brain is dead. Brain death is when the brain has stopped maintaining controls of all other bodily functions. Advances in technology have now made it possible to maintain respiration and circulation artificially in persons who are considered dead so that their organs can be removed and used to save someone else?s life (Landau). This technology is called artificial life support systems. Life support systems are used on patients with brain function when the physician is actively treating the patient. They are also used or continue to be used for organ donation when the patient has become brain dead. Society struggles with understanding that when someone is brain dead and being maintained on life support, that patient is never coming back.The conflict in the definition of death arises when the opportunity of organ donation is presented. Throughout the nation, there are not enough transplantable organs to go around. Statistics show that the majority of people in the United States are willing to donate their organs upon death, and even more indicated their willingness to donate organs of a loved one if they know that was their wish. More than half of the eligible donors refuse to donate their recently decreased family member?s organs because they don?t? know how the decreased felt about organ donation (MacPherson). In June of 1998 there were fifty-nine thousand hundred fifty-four patients across the nation waiting for an organ transplant and last year nineteen thousand nine hundred sixteen patients actually received transplants (Frei). Unfortunately less than one-fifth of the American people actually sign donor cards (Fentiman). Every 18 minute another person is added to the waiting list (Frei). In the four days a high school is given to research organ donation, forty people...

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