Time To Bust The Celebrity Organ Donation Myth

One of the things that recently unnerved me as of late is the adamant perpetuation & belief of an outdated myth. The myth that states just because you’re a celebrity, it some how gives you elevated status on the transplant list or a way to game the system.  This simply is untrue & dangerous to keep perpetuating as reality.

Many people don’t know this but both musician Barry White &  NFL star Walter Payton died waiting for organ transplants. They never received them, even though they were famous.

Even if you are a celebrity & have a transplant it doesn’t necessary guarantee a successful outcome.  King Hussein of Jordan, actually had a stem cell transplant, yet still died from post surgical complications.  Musician Lou Reed had a liver transplant in June of 2013, and he died the following October. The transplant wasn’t enough to save him.

(He also had made a committed recovery.  Active substance abuse is a disqualifier from transplant.  So it’s unlikely that for now, even if Lamar Odom needs a transplant he won’t receive one now due to his recent history of substance abuse. Although recent media reports state he is no longer in need of one.)

Granted, there are celebrities who have had successful organ transplants, but their celebrity is not taken into account for allocation or scoring.

Maybe their celebrity status would make finding a living donor a tad easier these days than in the past. Yet, still to buy into this myth is a fallacy.  Transplant surgery, allocation, & scoring is a complex & tangled web for anyone who needs one.  The general public has little knowledge of what it actually entails unless they serve as a caregiver or support to someone who actually needs a transplant.

This myth needs & deserves to be busted, not continually perpetuated as truth.

Let’s argue even with a greater pool of living donors that might come forward for a celebrity, it’s not a guarantee they’ll automatically have a match.

The allocation of organs as well as the matching system is complex & rigorous.  Most people will never realize just how complex it is until they have a friend or family member in the situation themselves.  The system is based on medical need, not status.

Let’s not go on supporting myths that do a disservice to anyone waiting or having received a transplant, celebrity status or not. It’s an insult to the complex journey that they undertake.  That includes the post transplant journey as well as the pre-transplant journey both.

Perpetuating such stereotypes & myths as truth only serves to discourage people who need a transplant evaluation or eventual transplant from thinking it’s actually attainable for them, when it just may be the choice they do need to make in their own best interest.




3 thoughts on “Time To Bust The Celebrity Organ Donation Myth

  1. Ahhh, my favorite myth ….. I laugh every time I hear it and then explain to people that when I was placed on the UNOS list I was VERY sick and listed as 1-A (highest for hearts) …… about 18 HOURS later I was matched with a donor and transplanted later that day. On the other hand, ex-vice president Dick Cheney had an LVAD (mechanical pump) and was on the UNOS list for 21 MONTHS!!

    I am neither rich nor famous ….. just sayin’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Heartbeat: First Two Episodes | AS I LIVE & BREATHE

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