April is National Donate Life Month

— A new video debunking myths about organ donation and hospital care was part of the presentation.

“Some people think when they come into the hospital, if they are an organ donor, people will not work as hard to take care of them, which is totally false,” Mitchell said. “We don’t even look for that.”

Likewise, Kochik explains patients are not considered for organ donation until the patient fails to respond to life-sustaining treatments.

“It’s only after care — when treatments fail and it looks like the patient is not going to survive where they notify us of the patient’s condition, and then we get involved.” Kochik said. “When someone comes into the emergency room or is admitted to their unit they [physicians and nurses] are not thinking whether or not patients have a signed donor card,”

On Wednesday, April 10, Upstate University Hospital hosted an afternoon of performances and festivities in honor of National Donate Life Month. The event offered citizens the opportunity to enroll in the registry.

“We here in Syracuse try to collaborate with other hospitals in our area to show that it is a community effort to raise awareness,” Mitchell said. “It’s not one hospital competing against another — we try to make it a community effort.”

According to Mitchell, the Central New York region now averages 26 percent in registry.

“We really encourage everyone 18 years of age and older to register,” Kochik said. “Younger people these days… are eager to sign on to the registry and just feel, ‘Yes, of course, we should do that.’”

Some individuals are hesitant to register, said Kochik, believing they are unsuitable candidates due to age or health status.

“We sometimes hear someone say ‘I wear glasses; well, you wouldn’t want my corneas,’” Kochik said. “Well, no, you’re still able to help someone see again through cornea transplants. Even if someone has high blood pressure or maybe the beginning stages of diabetes, they can still donate.”

Registration can be completed online at donorrecovery.org. Those interested can print, sign and send their forms to the Department of Health or submit an online version. Alternatively, individuals have the option to complete an online questionnaire upon following a link to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

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