Sign up to be an organ donor this holiday season

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Baystate Health is encouraging individuals to consider celebrating the “season of giving” by signing up as an organ donor.

According to a news release sent to 22News from Baystate Health, December is a time people gather together with families and is a perfect way to discuss with them about supporting the decision of becoming an organ donor.

“Every 9 minutes a new person is added to the national transplant wait list, which is already overcrowded with more than 106,000 men, women and children waiting for a lifesaving organ. Upwards of 40,000 transplants were performed in 2020 with about a third of them from living donors,” said Dr. Kenneth McPartland, Medical Director, Transplant Division, Baystate Medical Center.

To become an organ donor, register online at www.donatelife.net/register.

Donate Life America provided the following facts to better understand organ, eye and tissue donation:

  • Anyone can be a potential donor regardless of age, race, or medical history.
  • All major religions in the United States support organ, eye and tissue donation and see it as the final act of love and generosity toward others.
  • If you are sick or injured and admitted to the hospital, the number one priority is to save your life. Organ, eye and tissue donation can only be considered after you are deceased.
  • When you are on the waiting list for an organ, what really counts is the severity of your illness, time spent waiting, blood type, and other important medical information, not your financial status or celebrity status.
  • An open casket funeral is possible for organ, eye and tissue donors. Through the entire donation process the body is treated with care, respect and dignity.
  • There is no cost to the donor or their family for organ or tissue donation.
  • Information about an organ donor is only released to the recipient if the family of the donor requests or agrees to it.

“The gift of life is truly the ultimate gift that one can give to another. You can also give this gift of life during your lifetime as a living kidney donor. There are many options in living donation and you do not actually have to be blood type compatible with the person you want to donate to,” said Joyce Fiorentino, Living Donor Coordinator, Baystate Medical Center.

Baystate Transplant Program offers the only Transplant Services in western Massachusetts for adult patients requiring kidney transplants. There are more than 180 patients on the national transplant waiting list.

“We don’t like to think about it, but it’s something that we need to think about and it’s an opportunity to be sure that if you know if your in a situation where something really bad happens and you do have the opportunity to donate your organs, you do want to make sure your wishes are followed through,” said Dr. McPartland.

People can make a difference in someone’s life by donating a kidney to a patient on the Baystate Health waiting list, an alternative to waiting for a kidney from a deceased donor. To learn more about becoming a living kidney donor, call Baystate Medical Center’s Transplant Program at 413-794-2321.

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