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It’s scary. When saving lives, complacency can be deadly. What does that mean exactly?

Idaho excels at the percentage of people 18 and older signed up as organ, eye and tissue donors —64 percent! That’s wonderful!

What’s scary is, past surveys show over 90 percent of Idahoans think donation/transplantation is a good thing. Where are those other 26 percent? Why haven’t they said yes to helping others?

Do they think because everyone else is signed up, they don’t need to? Maybe it’s the sense that since so many people are signed up, there are enough donors to help everyone. It would be nice if that were the case.

The reason there is such a shortage of transplantable organs to help those 300-plus people in Idaho waiting is that only one to two percent of deaths can actually lead to donation.

To be an organ donor, someone has to die in the hospital, while on a ventilator, from a brain injury. While that doesn’t happen all that often, one organ donor can save up to eight lives, and if they donate corneas and tissues as well, they can help over 50 people. That’s quite a legacy to leave behind. Is it scary to know you could help that many people? You probably don’t even get that many trick-or-treaters.

If saying yes does make you nervous or scared, please go to to get the facts. Saying “yes” this Halloween to helping dozens of people shouldn’t be scary.

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McDonald is the director of Public Education at Intermountain Donor Services in Salt Lake City.


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