Wednesday, May 2, 2012

It Takes Guts to be an Organ Donor: Facebook's Newest Enhancement

If you missed the announcement yesterday, Facebook has added a new enhancement that will likely be a huge game changer for the current 114,000 people in the U.S. alone who are barely clinging to life, hoping that many of us will respond.  An average of 17 of these die every day, still waiting.

In a eureka moment of brilliance, Dr. Andrew Cameron, a transplant surgeon at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, helped bring the idea of registering for organ donation to Facebook.  But most of the announcements I've read are quoting Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg giving credit to his doctor-to-be girlfriend.  Yet no matter whose idea it really was, less than one day after the announcement, Donate Life America - the national umbrella organization for local registration groups - reports that organ donor registrations have already spiked more in one day than they typically get in a month.

Not all response to the program has been positive, however.  Such comments as "What's next, DNA sample?" and "Keep your hands off my organs, Zuckerberg!" have cropped up by users wary of the social media juggernaut's information mining. 

Personally, I don't care if Facebook knows I'm registered as an organ donor.  My attitude is that if I can help one or more fellow human beings live when I die, what's the downside?  Some have raised the concern that they might receive less heroic care if the enticement of their organs is on the line.  Will it make me a less attractive corpse?  If I'm dead, I hardly think I'll care about that aspect.

If you'd like to register on Facebook for this program, it's easy.  Simply click on your timeline and then select "Life Events" and then "health and wellness".  It will bring up the organ donor option.  When you click on that option, it brings up the Donate Life America website where you will be directed to your local donor registry organization.  Just do it.    


Johanna Garth said...

I missed the announcement. Thanks so much for posting about it Kate!

jenny milchman said...

Great tip, Kate. Thanks very much for bringing it to the attention of those who missed it.

Connie J Jasperson said...

This is incredibly important. If you are uncomfortable with posting that on Face book and you are are redident of Washington State, you have the option of registering your gift of your organs when you renew your driver license. You can also do this at

Kathleen Barker said...

Thanks for the additional information, Connie!

Pame Brennan said...

AWESOME! You an also update your Indiana Organ Donation info here:

Thanks for the info, Kate!