Last month was National Donate Life Month, encouraging Americans to register as an organ donor. The national campaign is over but countless donations are still needed.
Sadly, the waitlist could be anywhere from up to 10 years. Organ transplants have saved and enhanced the lives of more than 700,000 people in the United States. The United Network for Organ Sharing matches donors to recipients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, but many people in need are still waiting for that life-saving call.
22News spoke to the director of Transplant at Baystate Medical Center who said roughly 150,000 people across the nation are waiting for organ donations and that there are various ways these people can receive those organs.
“Many donations come from donors who are no longer living, but organs can be given through living donation as well,” Donna Feinstein told 22News. “An individual can come forward to offer to give a kidney to a person that they know, then we go through a rigorous process to evaluate whether that is a perfect fit.”
Forty percent of people on the waitlist currently need kidneys.
There is also a process called “directed donation” where someone who is dying could designate their organ to go to a family member on the waitlist.. but Feinstein said it’s not guaranteed they’ll be a perfect match.
Becoming an organ donor is a simple process.
It’s a critical decision and it’s an important decision, we encourage people because it saves lives.
You can become a donor when you renew your license. Feinstein told 22News it’s also not a permanent decision.