Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center - Houston, TX

Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center and LifeGift partner to bust some common myths about organ donation and transplantation.

Myth: Organs can be purchased on the black market in the United States.

The National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) prohibits the sale of human organs, stating, "It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive or otherwise transfer any human organ for valuable consideration for use in human transplantation." And due to the complexity of transplantation, piracy is virtually impossible. The process of matching donors with recipients and the need for highly skilled medical professionals and modern medical facilities make it highly unlikely that this system could be duplicated in secrecy. Even living donors are screened by social workers and psychologists to ensure there are no financial motives and that the donor’s intentions are completely altruistic.

National Organ Transplant Act
P.L. 98-507

Myth: Physicians may not do everything they can to save an organ donor’s life.

Physicians involved in a patient's care during an emergency or critical care setting are prohibited from having anything to do with transplant programs. The law states “in order to avoid conflict of interest, the physician who determines and/or certifies the death of a potential organ donor should not be involved in the organ removal or in subsequent transplantation procedures or responsible for the care of the potential recipients of these organs.” The organ donation center is not involved until all lifesaving efforts have been made.

World Medical Association
Statement on Human Organ Donation and Transplantation
Adopted by the 52nd WMA General Assembly in 2000 and revised by the General Assembly in 2006

Myth: People can recover from brain death.

A person cannot recover from brain death. Brain death indicates that there is irreversible loss of all brain and brain stem function, and there is zero probability of recuperating from this. At Methodist, physicians determine brain death through clinical tests that measure primitive brain reflexes and blood flow that are present in all living humans. These tests are conducted when a patient is considered to be brain dead as manifested by a complete loss of consciousness, vocalization and spontaneous movement.

The Methodist Hospital Official Procedure PC/PS 08
Also see: Sec. 671.001(b) of the Texas Health & Safety Code

Learn more about organ transplantation at The Methodist Hospital.

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Want to learn more about the organ donation process? Please visit the LifeGift website.