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Three Rivers

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It is widely accepted that organ transplantation is a cost-effective treatment for a patient whose own heart, kidney, lung, liver, pancreas or intestine can no longer function (Wilkinston & Wilkinston, 2011). The organs that are available for transplantation mainly come from deceased donors (Machnicki, Seriai & Schnitzler, 2006). However, the shortage of donor organs in the United States seriously impacts the life-saving process. To encourage people to register to be organ donors, we can incorporate the message into entertainment media to make the public aware of the importance of organ donation and take actions accordingly. This paper will introduce a storyline in TV series "Three Rivers" as a media example to explain the effectiveness of Entertainment Education.

Organ Donation Facts

The latest statistics of the Organ Procurement and Transplan¬tation Network (OPTN) show that the number of patients waiting for transplantation has increased to 117,268 in the United States. The group is constantly growing. The New York Organ Donor Network (2012) reports that, in average, six new names are added to the waiting list every hour. Although there were over 14,000 organ donors and more than 28,000 transplants were done each year (OPTN, 2012), the available organs were still in great shortage, causing nearly 7,000 patients die each year before they are offered a matched organ (Richtel & Sack, 2012). In fact, the power of organ donation is amazing, for one donor can save up to eight lives, and the success rate for organ transplants is over 80% (New York Organ Donor Network, 2012). However, today, the number of registered organ donors is still under 50% of the total population in the United States (Donate Life America, 2012). Both the OPTN and the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) agree something needs to be done to increase the number of registrants.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few myths and concerns delaying people's decision to register to be an organ donor, for example, people may think organ donation is against their religion (Mayo Clinic, 2010). Actually, all the major religions regard organ donation as being generous and showing the universal love. Some people have other concerns such as "My doctor won't work hard to save my life once I agree to donate my organs," "What if my doctor takes out my organs while I am still alive?" or "Doctors could be bribed to give someone priority to receive the transplant first." According to Donate Life America, however, unless a person is confirmed dead, the doctor's only job is saving the life rather than procuring organs. Moreover, neither financial nor celebrity status affects the transplant sequence. Majewski (2007) indicated that the TV media should be partly responsible for these negative thoughts, because the nature of organ donation may be distorted by the storylines of their TV series, such as a scene of the black market organ sale. Therefore, it is important to deliver accurate messages on organ donation to remove people's stereotypes and inform them the goodness of being an organ donor (Majewski, 2007).



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