FACT CHECK: Will Organ Donors Not Be Saved If They Are In An Accident?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims organ donors will not be saved if they are in a serious accident.

Verdict: False

Experts confirmed hospital staff will try to save the lives of all patients regardless of an individual’s donor status.

Fact Check:

More than 169 million people in the U.S. are registered as organ donors, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration. A post shared on Facebook claims these potential donors are risking their lives by doing so.

“For those who don’t know this already: if you have organ donor on your license or consent to it and you get into an accident, they will not try to save your life. They will sacrifice you for the organs,” reads the post.

Numerous experts have debunked this myth over the years. The Mayo Clinic confirms this is purely a rumor on its website, stating, “When you go to the hospital for treatment, doctors focus on saving your life — not somebody else’s.”

Penn Medicine corroborates this on a section of its website dedicated to myths about organ donation. “Hospital staff will do everything they possibly can to save your life,” reads the website.

Penn Medicine goes on to explain the extensive list of criteria that need to be met before a person can be considered for organ donation. Hospital staff must exhaust all treatment options and confirm the patient has no chance of recovery, and the patient must either be an organ donor or have the donation authorized by their next-of-kin. Further, the patient’s medical history must be evaluated before they can begin being matched with a candidate on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waitlist.

“Only about 2.5 percent of all patients die in a manner that allows for the possibility of a life-saving organ donation,” explains the Gift of Life Donor Program website(RELATED: Has The Rate Of Maternal Mortality Risen In The US?)

“A donor needs to be on a ventilator and die from brain death or circulatory death” in order to be considered for organ donation, according to the Donor Network of Arizona. The organization notes medical professionals in an emergency room often do not have time to check whether or not someone is an organ donor as they are busy attempting to stabilize the patient.

Check Your Fact has reached out to the First Responders Foundation for comment and will update this piece if a response is given.

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter

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