Myths & Misconceptions


Don’t let misinformation keep you from saving and enhancing lives by being a registered organ and tissue donor. Take a moment to separate fact from fiction and learn what’s real. And what’s not. Here are the facts to dispel some common myths about donation.

Know These Facts About Donation

The Facts

Financial and social status have no bearing on decisions made to place and transplant organs. A national computer system and strict federal, regional and local systems ensure the ethical and equitable distribution of organs. Organs are allocated based on objective criteria, including recipient’s blood type, body size, medical urgency, length of time on the waiting list and proximity to transplant center.

The Facts

This is an urban legend and completely untrue. It never happened. U.S. law prohibits the purchase and sale of human organs. This myth has been repeated many times in newspapers and over the Internet. But it’s just that: a myth.

The Facts

This is not true. Brain death is not a coma. Brain death is a clinical and legal determination of death. Brain death occurs in patients who have suffered a severe, irreversible injury to the brain and brain stem. As a result of the injury, the brain swells and obstructs its own blood supply despite all medical efforts to prevent it. Without blood flow, brain tissue quickly dies. Mechanical devices may maintain body functions, such as heartbeat and respiration, for a few hours or days. But not permanently. A physician confirms brain death using a strict neurological exam.

The Facts

Organ and tissue donors typically are healthy people who have suffered a life-ending trauma and are declared dead. But virtually anyone—regardless of age, race, gender and even many health conditions—can become an organ or tissue donor or both. And one person’s decision can benefit many others. A single donor can save or enhance the lives of more than 25 people.

The Facts

This is not true. A very clear separation of responsibility exists in the care of a hospital patient. Physicians and patient care teams in the emergency room and hospital unit are there to provide the care you need. They are completely separate from transplant surgeons and other healthcare professionals involved in the organ and tissue donation and transplantation process. These people are notified and become involved only after all efforts to save your life have been exhausted and a physician determines that your death is imminent or has declared you legally dead.

Contact Us For More Information Or Questions!

Address: 425 Spring Lake Drive,
Itasca, IL 60143

Phone: (630) 758-2600

Fax: (630) 758-2601

Gift of Hope has teamed up with to make it easy to become an organ and tissue donor. Visit to join the registry today.

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