You can Make A Difference in as many as 80 people’s lives. The best part? You do this once, and forget it. Someone else is going to take care of all the rest. There is no reason not to do it. Are you someone who MAD?
These numbers change everyday. Sometimes, they change 100 times per day. By the time you read this, the numbers will have changed again. As of 22AUG12 at 1039 EDT:
These are candidates on the organ donation waiting list according to OPTN, Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.
These candidates are on the active list. According to the HRSA, Health Resources and Services Administration, and OPTN, candidates are active only under certain circumstances:
A transplant candidate eligible to be considered for organ offers at a given point in time. Some transplant candidates are temporarily classified as ‘inactive’ by their transplant center because they are medically unsuitable for transplantation or need to complete other eligibility requirements.” ~ US Department of Health and Human Services
You read that right. Some patients are too sick to qualify to have their lives saved by an organ they need to live. Their health declines because they need an organ and do not get it, thus becoming ineligible to get the organ they need.
Between 01JAN12 and 31MAY12, 11,469 organs have been transplanted from American donors. The majority of these were taken off the candidate list because their needs were met. Some did not come off the list because they are in need of another organ due to a need for multiple organs, post-transplant organ failure or rejection.
Less than 5% = 5,677
During the same period, the number of donors who replaced those who donated the 11,469 organs was less than 5% of the total current need: Only 5,677 new donors registered.
By May of this year, 2,486 people had died awaiting a transplant which did not come. Last year, 6,696 patients died before they received a transplant.
Men vs. Women
Regardless of race, more men are registered as deceased organ donors than women.¹ 62% of all living donors are women.³
The Waiting Game¹
By organ and ethnicity, those who wait the longest for a transplant are:
Pacific Islanders: Median waiting time 2,604 days (7 years, 49 days)
Blacks: Median waiting time 1,199 days (3 years, 104 days)
American Indians: Median waiting time 1,096 days (3 years, 1 day)
Blacks: Median waiting time 666 days (1 year, 301 days)
Hispanics: Median waiting time 651, (1 year, 286 days)
Asians, American Indians, Non-Hispanics, Pacific Islanders: No median waiting time. Less than 10 transplants were made to accumulate statistics.
Hispanic women are the least likely to donate their organs. Even though white men are the largest donor category, they are underrepresented against their need for organs. In 2012, white men represent 27% of all people needing organs. White people represent 71% of all living donors and 72% off all deceased donors from whom organs were retrieved. 16% of all deceased donors are children under the age of 18.¹
Almost 35% of those on the waiting list for kidneys are black. Blacks, Asians, Pacific Islanders and American Indians are three times more likely to require a kidney transplant as a result of end-stage renal failure secondary to hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes and other kidney-damaging diseases.³
Kidneys are the most transplanted organ, which causes turnover in the candidate numbers. More than 16,800 kidneys were transplanted in 2009, but more than 5,400 people died waiting for kidneys. A live donor kidney has a half-life of 28.8 years, where a deceased donor kidney has a half-life of 15.1 years. This means a living donation can last a lifetime for an adult recipient where a deceased donation will likely end in a recipient being re-registered for candidacy for a new organ.²
Hearts are the organ which has the highest transplant rate. This means of those who qualify to receive a transplant, the largest percentage received an organ. Asians have the highest heart transplant rate, at just over 80%. Blacks have the lowest at 66%.¹
Today, 79 people will receive a transplant, but 18 people will die waiting for an organ.³ 2.5 million people will die this year.⁴ People are living longer, meaning the wait for organs is not getting shorter.⁴ Of the 311.6 million⁵ people in the United States, just over 100 million are registered organ donors.³
Make A Difference
You have to register with your state. (International information below.)
- Declare your donor status on your driver’s license and/or government -issued identification card.
- Inform your physician, Mate, spiritual adviser, family and friends. Most families have no knowledge donors have registered.
- File notice with area hospitals where you live and travel.
Many registration agencies encourage donors to make a life event on their social media proclaiming their registration to aid in awareness and visibility of their personal choice.
3. Put it in writing.
- Execute a living will.
- Add a codicil to your last will and testament.
- Carry a donor card.
4. Get tested.
You can be a living donor for kidneys, skin and bone marrow. Outpatient facilities can do test to document your vital statistics, genetic makeup and document you on compatibility markers for organ matching. When a recipient match is added to the candidates’ list, you can be called to donate. Skin can be donated through most hospital burn units.
5. Make it count.
YOU Make a Difference
Giving the gift of life to someone in need of a vital organ is painless. You will never know it was done. After all, you will have quit using it. Living donation offers the chance to meet the person whose life you change.
- Donating corneas gives the gift of sight.
- Donating bones save limbs from amputation and can give bone marrow to a leukemia patient.
- Donating tissue can mean the difference between horrid burn scars and a relatively natural appearance.
- Donating the remainder of your body after organ harvesting provides educational material for future doctors.
Give the gift of life. You do make a difference.
Are you a registered organ donor? Do you have your wishes in a living will? Have you filed notice with your hospital? Do you carry donor information with you or wear a donor ID (bracelet or necklace)? Have you considered organ donation in the event of your children’s death? Will you register to make a difference today?
Click the link to your country:
¹Statistics not otherwise attributed are available as a result of UNOS, United Network for Organ Sharing, statistical reporting of organ transplants via the ODNT data gateway, are complete and archived based on change inactivity through 2004 or are current reported unarchived statistics from 2012 or reported in 2011.
²Statistics in the paragraph: Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) and Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR). OPTN / SRTR 2010 Annual Data Report. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Healthcare Systems Bureau, Division of Transplantation; 2011. Available at ODNT, 2010 Report, Chapter I. Accessed 08AUG12.
³Statistics available via Donate the Gift of LIFE, US Department of Health and Human Services.
(c) Red Dwyer 2012
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