Organ Donation in North Carolina
Do you want to be an organ donor? Do you know how to become one?
There are three ways to become a donor:
1. Request that a heart be placed on your driver’s license at the DMV.
2. Register online at www.donatelifenc.org.
3. Complete a paper enrollment form and mail it to Donate Life North Carolina. To obtain a form, call 1-800-200-2672.
If you want to donate, and you have a heart on your driver’s license, you have already consented to organ donation. That may seem obvious, but what many people don’t know is that until a few years ago, the heart on your driver’s license only indicated your intent to donate organs. In order to actually donate, “first-person consent” was required. That meant that another person, usually a family member, would be responsible for actually making the decision and giving their consent for the donation.
This was often problematic because there is a short window of time in which to preserve organs for donation after death. Having to locate and burden a grieving family member with the decision many times prevented the organs from being donated because too much time elapsed. The Heart Prevails Law, enacted in October 2007, changed the law so that the heart symbol on your driver’s license is now legal consent for the donation of your organs after you die.
Representative Dale Folwell, is responsible for this legislation, which passed unanimously. Since the law went into effect, “North Carolina has seen a 58% increase in organ transplants,” http://www.project-compassion.org/nc-initiatives/stories/68-the-heart-prevails-legislation-in-nc-personal-tragedies-result-in-legislative-change. Click on the link if you want to learn more about Rep. Folwell’s story and what led him to introduce this legislation.
The heart symbol indicates organ and cornea/eye donation only, not tissue. The organs that can be donated include the heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and small intestines. If you want to donate tissue, you should register online or contact Donate Life North Carolina. Tissues that can be donated include skin, bone, corneas, heart valves, and veins. Skin grafts are used for burn victims, dental surgeries and reconstructive surgeries; bone, tendons and ligaments can be used in reconstructive surgeries; corneas are transplanted to give sight; heart valves are used in valve replacement surgery, common in children, and leg veins can be used in heart bypass surgery.
Visit the Carolina Donor Services website for more information: http://www.carolinadonorservices.org/index.php