Our Commitment

Knowing All We Can Do

A critical goal for our organization is to provide the educational support needed to help people make informed decisions concerning donation. Through growing knowledge, we hope to encourage more Arkansans to register as organ and tissue donors and share the gift of life.

Teacher Resources

To arrange for an ARORA representative, donor family member or transplant recipient to speak to your classroom, email edu@arora.org.

Crossword
Knowledge Quiz

Student Resources

We provide in-class and online educational tools that allow students to better understand the process and benefits of organ and tissue donation.

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Professional Education

We provide healthcare professionals the access to knowledge needed to be effective in their rolls in organ and tissue transplantation.

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 Partner Portal

A valuable online resource for our donation partners.

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Partner Portal

A valuable online resource for our hospital partners.

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Donation FAQs

Don’t let untruths stop you from making a truly amazing decision. Know the facts and help save lives.

All the vital organs in the body can be transplanted: heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and the small intestine. Tissues include the cornea or eye, bone, skin, cartilage, ligaments, veins and heart valves.

Everyone should consider himself or herself a potential organ and tissue donor. Your medical condition at the time of death will determine what organs and tissues can be donated. Organs are recovered from individuals who are determined by a physician to be “brain dead,” meaning their brain and brainstem have died. They have usually suffered a severe trauma or blow to the head, such as an aneurysm or a gunshot wound. The individual is in an intensive care unit at a hospital and every measure possible is made to save his or her life. A series of tests are performed by a neurospecialist to determine brain death. Brain death is death—it is not reversible. Organs can only be recovered from individuals who are brain dead, or in some cases who die a cardiac death—meaning that their heart has stopped beating. Organ donors can also donate tissue. The only diseases that completely eliminate you from being an organ or tissue donor are metastatic cancer, HIV or AIDS. Other medical conditions that could affect organ donation are evaluated on a case by case basis.

Once brain death has been confirmed by medical personnel not associated with the organ recovery, the donation process is set into motion. Tissues can be recovered up to 24 hours after death by trained technicians in the tissue recovery suite at ARORA or a hospital operating room. Prosthetic devices are put in place of recovered bones to maintain the form of the body. The body is carefully reconstructed and the funeral home chosen by the donor family transports the donor’s body to prepare for funeral service, burial or cremation. The recovered tissues are stored in freezers until all quality assurance tests come back verifying that no diseases are present. Once this assurance is received, the tissue is then processed into grafts for distribution to clinicians for life-saving and life-enhancing transplants.

Organ donation is a more difficult process because organs must be matched with individuals waiting on the national waiting list. Once the organs have been matched with a recipient, the organs are surgically removed in a hospital operating room. Surgeons and their assistants recover each organ in a specific order. The surgeons return to the transplant center and transplant the organ into the awaiting recipient. Due to specific time limits, some organs, such as the kidneys, can be properly packaged and sent on a commercial airline to their destination, while other organs must be transported more urgently. For example, the heart can only be outside the body for 4 hours before being transplanted, but kidneys can be outside the body for up to 48 hours before being transplanted. Every available test is performed to ensure the safety of the organs and tissues.

No! Doctors’ and hospitals’ number one priority is saving lives. The idea that hospitals  will “kill you off”‘ for your organs and tissues is a vicious rumor and myth that serves only to needlessly frighten people, unfortunately preventing them from registering as donors. Organ donation is never discussed until brain death has been declared. Further, the medical personnel who declare brain death are entirely different from the organ recovery team. Medical personnel must follow strict guidelines, including conducting multiple tests before they can pronounce brain death.

No. Because organ and tissue donation are time-sensitive procedures, your will will likely be read too late to make donation possible. That is why donor registration is so important.

Myths & Facts

Myth

If emergency room doctors know you're an organ donor, they won't work as hard to save you.

Fact

If you are sick or injured and admitted to the hospital, the number one priority is to save your life. Organ donation can only be considered after brain death has been declared by a physician. Also, your treating physician is not the doctor who would perform the organ recovery.

Myth

The “rich and famous” receive priority on the organ waiting list. Doctors won't work as hard to save you.

Fact

When you are on the transplant waiting list for a donor organ, what really counts is the severity of your illness, time spent waiting, blood type, and other important medical information.

Myth

Your family members can block your decision to become an organ or tissue donor, even if you are in the donor registry.

Fact

In Arkansas, your family cannot revoke your decision to register as a donor. However, it’s important to talk to your family about your decision to donate so they are aware of your wishes and will feel comfortable honoring them.

Myth

Only hearts, livers, and kidneys and be transplanted.

Fact

Needed organs include the heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver and intestines. Tissue that can be donated include the eyes, skin, bone, heart valves and tendons.

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