Oh my god, you’re sitting down?

— Reid (to Luke)

Becoming an Organ Donor

Luke Tells Holden and Lily About Reid’s Sacrifice

cue to 5:30

Video UePshfc4hWo#t=5m30s not found

Why This Post?

Okay, I don’t like this storyline any more than most LuRe fans, but it occurred to me that many of us may not have actually thought about this issue. I just checked my licenses (US/UK) and realized that both look out of date (I know in the past I’ve registered). So I thought I would post this while interest in the topic is high. Hope it’s useful.

Organ Donation: The Statistics

Deciding whether or not to donate your organs is a very personal choice. As we’ve all seen on-screen, the decision can be very traumatic to those who most care about us, at a time they are most vulnerable. Yet many donor families say that knowing other lives have been saved helps them cope with their tragic loss.

One organ donor can save the lives of seven (7) persons. Tissue donation (skin, bones, corneas, heart valves and connective tissue) can better the quality of life of twenty (20) persons, such as giving sight to the blind.

According to the US Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), each day, about 77 people receive organ transplants. However, 19 people die each day waiting for transplants that can’t take place because of the shortage of donated organs. As of late August 2010, there were 108,347 on the transplant waitlist, compared to 11,637 transplants completed in May, and 5,829 donors (each donor can save multiple lives).

To see a breakdown of people on the waiting list, go to U.S. Waiting List Candidates by Organ & Gender. The US site notes that minority donors are particularly welcomed because certain blood types are more common in ethnic minority populations, increasing the number of minority donors can increase the frequency of minority transplants. For more information on minorities and organ donation please visit the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program website.

Becoming an Organ Donor

The process of enrolling and donating varies by country, and in some cases by state. In most cases, it is simply a case of filling out a very small piece of paperwork or donor card declaring your intent to serve as a donor. In many American states, your preference will be indicated on your state-issued driver’s license. It makes sense to inform your family and loved ones about your decision as relatives may not approve of donation if they are not aware of your wishes.

See the links below for more information on how to become a donor in your country (the three most popular countries where Luke and Reid appear to be most popular):

If anyone has information on organ donation in Germany, the Netherlands (the next two most popular countries) or any other jurisdictions, please comment below or PM me via LRO, the ESS forum, or using the contact form for this website, and I’ll add them to the list.

2 Responses to “Becoming an Organ Donor”

  1. Dave Undis says:

    Over half of the 108,000 people on the U.S. transplant waiting list will die before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate about 20,000 transplantable organs every year. Over 9,000 of our neighbors suffer and die needlessly every year as a result.

    There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage — give organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

    Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren’t willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.

    Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at http://www.lifesharers.org or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition. LifeSharers has over 14,000 members.

    David J. Undis
    Executive Director
    LifeSharers
    http://www.lifesharers.org

    • lovelure says:

      I have approved Mr Undis’s comment, but need to add the following note. Wikipedia (which I acknowledge is not always accurate) describes LifeSharers as a nonprofit United States-based organization which functions as an organ donation network. By agreeing to donate their organs to the network, they receive priority in receiving organs from other members of the network. It was founded by Dave Undis in 2002, who believed that the best way to encourage increased organ donation was to ensure those willing to donate receive priority in receiving organs. But it has been criticized by those who believe that decisions of priority should be based on purely medical criteria. If you would like to read more about LifeSharers, you can visit their website (as noted in Mr Undis’s comment) or ABC News which ran an article about LifeSharers in 2006.

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