Organ Transplant Waiting List Reaches High in U.S.
April 11, 2008
(Belleville, Ill) Donate Life America and the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) are using the month of April to educate Americans about the number of lives that could be saved and improved through organ, eye and tissue transplants. Organizations, including Allsup, which represents people nationwide for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, are helping raise awareness about the growing need.
The number of patients on the U.S. waiting list for organ transplants has grown at a steady rate, reaching 97,670 as of Dec. 31, 2007. In comparison, five years ago, there were 80,790 patients on the waiting list as of Dec. 31, 2002. And 10 years ago, there were 53,167 patients on the waiting list as of Dec. 31, 1997. The result is an increase of nearly 84 percent in 10 years.
In 2007, nearly 6,000 people died while on the waiting list, and more than 26,000 people received organ transplants. According to UNOS, the longest organ-specific waiting list is for kidney donations, with more than 75,000 people currently waiting for an organ transplant.
One method for meeting this need is encouraging donation sign-up at the state level. Many states provide simple methods for designating organ donation on drivers’ licenses or state identification cards. Donate Life America offers a directory with details by state online at www.donatelife.net.
“State donor registries play an essential role in the donation process by enabling an individual to make a decision that gives procurement agencies full authority to procure their organs and/or tissues upon their death,” said Sara Pace Jones, Donate Life America chairman. “These legally binding donation decisions are critical for the nearly 100,000 people who are on the National Waiting List for organ transplants and the many more awaiting cornea and tissue transplants to restore their lives and health.”
One misconception about organ transplants is that most recipients survive only a few years. According to Donate Life America, long-term survival is becoming more common. For example, a number of kidney recipients are living 30 years or longer after transplant. Recipients of other organs have survived more than 20 years after transplant.
Each day in the U.S., there are about 79 organ transplants taking place and an average of 132 people being added to the nation’s organ transplant waiting list.
Allsup is observing Donate Life Month with free posters available to hospitals, clinics and other community groups by calling Karen Hercules-Doerr at (800) 854-1418, ext. 5770.
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