Myth 1: The EMTs won’t go the extra mile to save your life if you’re a registered organ donor.
That’s absolutely not true, says David Barlas, MD, assistant professor and chief of service at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine at Cobble Hill. "We always treat every patient to our maximum ability unless a health care proxy or the patient is able to tell us that they don’t want any heroic measures done, such as with terminal cancer or hospice care,” Barlas tells Yahoo Health.
The same goes for emergency medical technicians (EMTs), who don’t typically check to see if you’re an organ donor. “Unless they have a do not resuscitate [order], we will give it everything we’ve got,” Taz Meyer, an EMT paramedic and vice chair of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians' EMS Safety Committee, tells Yahoo Health. “We’re going to do the best we can to save them."
In practice, EMTs don’t have access to the donor registry, notes Arnold. "It’s only after someone passes away that the donor hospital will call the local Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs), which then search for an individual’s donation status,” she explains.