Latinos Reluctant About Organ Donations

Flip over your driver’s license or state-issued ID. Are you an organ donor? Turns out that Latinos, especially Mexican-Americans, are less likely to “make an anatomical gift” than Americans in general. This is especially alarming considering our numbers are growing steadily, and we could be saving lives.

Some of this reticence centers on religion, as many believe that in order to enter heaven their body must be whole. In many cases, they also think that organ donors can’t have open casket funerals.

Dissolving these kinds of myths is a challenge for people like Nuvia Enriquez, Hispanic outreach coordinator for the Donor Network of Arizona. “We talk to them about the Catholic Church’s position on donation, which is very positive,” she recently told Reuters. “Pope John Paul II was actually the first pope to declare donation to be an act of love, and Pope Benedict, when he was Cardinal, was a card-carrying organ donor.”

According to the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance, “anyone can be a potential donor, regardless of age or medical history,” which is something to think about. As of October 2010, over nineteen thousand Latinos were registered on the U.S. transplant waiting list.

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