One million people have received organ transplants in the United States alone, according to new data released by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
This milestone comes as efforts are ramping up to increase donation rates and save more lives through transplantation. About 114,000 people in the US are on the waiting list for an organ transplant at any given time, while only 30,000 transplants are performed annually.
UNO’s report urges readers to consider donating their organs after death so that others may benefit from organ transplants, which can be life-saving procedures for patients with failing hearts, kidneys, lungs, or livers.
A Look At The Statistics
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services found that more than 1 million people have received transplants, representing one-third of the world’s total organ transplants, in a study published on Tuesday.
Americans waited more than 3 years on average for transplants in 2013, but experts point out that Americans also wait less time on average for a heart transplant (5 months) or kidney transplant (8 months).
Organ donation saves lives, with every donor potentially saving up to eight lives through organ donations.
The average life expectancy of a person on an organ transplant list is only about two years, said Dr. Francis L. Delmonico, professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and president emeritus of the New England Organ Bank. We can’t keep relying on people who die to provide organs, he said.
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Some risks associated with being an organ donor are the amount of energy it takes and the surgery it may involve
Death isn’t the only risk involved in being an organ donor. Doctors have to make sure that your kidneys are healthy enough, as well as your liver. If your stomach isn’t good, there might be problems with what they do to your intestines.
You may not be eligible because of things like high blood pressure or diabetes.
Sometimes, your body won’t accept your new kidney. This is called organ rejection. It can happen after transplant surgery, too.
That could happen because of drugs you take or problems with your immune system. If it does happen, you might need more treatment to help keep you healthy and well. You may even need another organ transplant!
How To Improve Awareness of Donations
There are numerous ways to improve awareness of organ donation in the United States. In fact, a number of corporations and organizations have already adopted creative tactics to encourage people to sign up to be organ donors or take time out of their day to register as bone marrow donors.
– Promote changes in organ transplant legislation that would save lives if enacted in all 50 states.
– Create a program where everyone 18 years old or older signs up as a donor on their 18th birthday by default.
One of these is a program in which first-year college students are required to sign up as organ donors by default. This opt-out model, where individuals must take an extra step to register as a non-donor, is common in European countries with highly successful donation rates.
While only 10 percent of Americans are registered organ donors, 100 percent of students in Spain are automatically added to their country’s national donor registry when they start university.
Why We Need to Do Better
In the United States, 22 people die each day waiting for a transplant. While we are doing our best to save lives in other ways, it is important that the conversation about organ donation be included in the discussion.
It is possible to sign up to donate your organs when you die and there is no shortage of other ways to save lives on this Earth.
The reality is that there will always be a shortage of organs to give life to those in need. Because of that, we need to encourage everyone to sign up as organ donors when they die.
🔵Science Direct (n.d) Organ donation in the US and Europe: The supply vs demand imbalance (Available On):https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0955470X20300586
🔵National Library Of Medicine (n.d) New and old technologies for organ replacement (Available On):https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4911019/
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