|Facebook requests hearts, lungs, livers|
|Written by Daily Vidette Editorial Board|
|Wednesday, 02 May 2012 14:14|
More than 114,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for an organ transplant. On average, 18 of those people die on a daily basis.
As many people as there are waiting on the organ transplant list who die hoping a donor will show up, many more of us are dying from other causes, taking our organs with us to the grave. In the opinion of many, this is a shame and waste since each donor on average has the potential to save at least seven lives.
Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, is working to change this with the use of social media. Tuesday, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will now be allowing U.S. and UK users to sign up to be organ donors.
“We think that a lot of people who might just be on the fence about whether or not they want to do this, could be convinced to do that,” Zuckerberg told ABC News about the persuasion available through advocating with Facebook. “I think that if people choose to share these stories with their friends, that can make a big difference over time.”
The new addition on Facebook is not legally binding, but rather a life event that users post on their Timelines. An individual will go to their health and wellness section to create the “Life Event,” optionally add their state or country, and explain their story of becoming an organ donor. Afterward, a link called “Share Your Donor Status” will pop up onto friends’ news feeds, in hopes to spread the movement.
Facebook will also then be including a “Donate Life America” link, their new partner, for users to officially register themselves as organ donors. When you go through this state registry system, like when you sign legal documents at the DMV for your driver’s license, it is legally binding.
“We could save thousands more lives a year if we had another 20, 30, 40 million more people registered,” explained David Fleming, president and CEO of Donate Life America in an article on CNN. “The most important part of this is actually registering to be a donor so that your wishes can be carried out. Sharing that decision on Facebook is an opportunity to encourage your friends and family to also register.”
Many people are often reluctant to sign up to be organ donors out of fear of a doctor working less to save their lives. This is a myth that Zuckerberg wishes to dismiss as more people become donors.
While it is not rare for individuals to use social networking sites to spread awareness, it is unique for a company to become a partner in the effort. As Facebook users add the donor event to their Timeline, we have to wonder if it is just a trend, a life decision, or if that even makes a difference. Moving into future possibilities, users might have to make the personal decision about how much medical information they want to be available online.
It really is not a controversial decision for Facebook, but a great opportunity for the Donate Life America group. Registering to be a donor is important and a decision that users shouldn’t be pressured into making. Being a donor allows doctors to help others continue on their lives with your help, along with saving yours should a transplant be necessary.
How many donors have posted to Facebook is unknown, but the registration is becoming more accessible which can lead to more saved lives. Donors can more easily decide on organ, skin, and eye donations, and should also inform their doctor and family about their wishes. Since you have a heart, we can’t help but wonder how willing are you to give it.