House Calls runs every other Saturday. Today's column is written by Dody McLeod, a physician's assistant who works in the Ambulatory Surgery Department of Sutter Coast Hospital.

The words "donate life" are simple but they have the potential to impact so many in so many ways. April is National Donate Life Month and on behalf of Sutter Coast Hospital, I would like to take this time to share some information regarding organ donation.

I realize, for most, this is a difficult topic to discuss and that there are some myths surrounding organ donation.

First I'd like to address some of the common myths, such as, if you

agree to organ donation the hospital will not work as hard to save your


Not true. The hospital focuses on saving lives, the physicians and

nurses that care for you have nothing to do with transplantation, they

are focused on saving your life.

Another common myth is that organ donation may be against a person's

religion. This also is not true. In fact organ donation is consistent

with the beliefs of most religions.

Perhaps you are under 18 and feel that you are too young to make this

decision. Well, this is true but what you can do is express your wishes

to your parents. And, while this must be one of the most difficult

decisions a parent should ever have to make, knowing that their loss has

helped another family often provides much needed comfort.

Another myth: "My family will be charged if I donate my organs." The

family is not charged for care related to organ donation.

Just what is organ and tissue donation? Organ and tissue donation is

the process of recovering organs and tissues from a deceased person, and

transplanting them into others in order to save the lives of those in


Here are some facts regarding organ donation:

Did you know that right now over 21,000 Californians are waiting for

an organ transplant? And, did you know that your decision to donate can

save the lives of 8 people? Over 100,000 people are waiting for on

organ donation in the United States and thousands will die having never

heard the words "we have found a match for you."

In the event that we have a patient where organ donation is being

considered, Sutter Coast Hospital coordinates with the California

Transplant Donor Network. I have had the experience of working with it

in the past. It provides excellent and compassionate care as well as

professionally support the hospital staff, the patient and the family.

I hope that this brief article has informed you regarding organ

donation. For further information you can visit the California

Transplant Donor Network's web site


Email suggestions for future House Calls columns to Beth Liles at

Sutter Coast Hospital,