U.S. organ transplants reach 30K milestone, thanks to increased donations
Posted on January 13, 2016
Organ transplants in the United States reached a milestone in 2015, exceeding 30,000 for the first time, a non-profit group reported Wednesday.
Those 30,973 transplants of kidneys, livers and other organs were nearly 5% more than performed in 2014 and came after years of fairly slow, steady increases, said officials with the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). The network coordinates U.S. transplant activities.
“This landmark achievement is a testament to the generosity of the American public to help others through donation, and their trust in the transplant system to honor their life-saving gift,” the group’s president, Betsy Walsh, said in a statement.
Stepped-up organ donations, rather than any breakthroughs in transplant surgery, likely drove increases in recent years, said David Klassen, the network’s chief medical officer. Transplant centers also have worked to improve logistics, so that fewer donated organs are discarded, he said.
But, he said, the number of people waiting for organs – now 121,700 – “still dwarfs the numbers of donors each year.”
As of Tuesday, 78,122 of the people on the waiting list were considered “active,” meaning they are eligible for transplant right away. People may move on and off the active list as their health fluctuates, Klassen said. Most are waiting for kidneys, which can come from living or deceased donors.
Each day, about 22 people die while waiting for organs, the network says.
“It’s great news that the number of transplants continues to increase each year,” saidJennifer Martin, vice president for constituent services at the National Kidney Foundation, a non-profit advocacy group. “But there’s still a lot of work to do to get organs for everyone who needs them.”
“We could save thousands of more lives each year if more Americans would just take a little time to register as donor, talk to their families about their wishes,” and encourage others to do the same, said David Fleming, CEO of Donate Life America, a non-profit group that runs a national registry at DonateLife.net. Registries also are maintained by every state and listed at organdonor.gov.
Details from the 2015 transplant data:
• 81% of transplanted organs came from deceased donors.
• The share of donors and recipients who were African American or Hispanic continued to increase – important because they are over-represented on transplant waiting lists. Nearly 22% of recipients were African American and 15.5% were Hispanic.
• Kidneys accounted for nearly 58% of transplants, followed by livers (23%), hearts (9%) and lungs (7%).
Posted in Community News, News
Donate Life America Announces 2015 James S. Wolf, M.D., Courage Award Winner
Posted on October 30, 2015 by cnews
RICHMOND, October 19, 2015 – Donate Life America (DLA), a national non-profit organization committed to increasing the number of donated organs, eyes and tissue available to save and heal lives, while continuing to develop a culture where donation is embraced as a fundamental human responsibility, will present David Fleming, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine, with the James S. Wolf, M.D., Courage Award tomorrow at DLA’s annual meeting in New Orleans, LA.
The James S. Wolf, M.D., Courage Award is named in honor of the transplant surgeon pioneer who founded the Coalition on Donation (now Donate Life America). The award is presented annually to an individual outside the professional donation and transplantation community, who has played a significant national role in helping to educate the public about organ, eye and tissue donation and promoting donor registration.
ESPN The Magazine writer David Fleming’s interest in tissue donation was piqued with a single phrase: “cadaver tissue.” Dave wondered what it meant. After some initial research, he called AlloSource, a tissue bank in Centennial, Colorado, to see if he could learn more about tissue donation. He went above and beyond, asking questions and learning about a very complex process. His experience is detailed in his online and print piece, “Carson Palmer’s Lasting Connection,” featured in ESPN The Magazine, one of the most popular magazines in the U.S. – read by 15 million people per issue.
Dave also flew to Illinois to further his understanding of the organ and tissue procurement side of donation. He met with Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network, a donor family and a tissue recipient so he could see firsthand how donation affects people on both sides of this meaningful process. These meetings informed a new piece of the story, “Tissue Donation is the Ultimate Gift,” an article that ran online and was very positively received. Many people commented on both articles that they would like to see more pieces like these from ESPN and that the story was important and exceptionally well told.
The social media reach of Dave’s article, “Carson Palmer’s Lasting Connection,” included 24,000 shares and over 180 comments, for example:
“Thank you for running this story, I’m a kidney transplant recipient and without a transplant would probably not be here at all. The public needs to hear these stories so they will consider becoming a donor. It’s the greatest gift you can give or leave when you die. You have the power to save someone’s life.”
“Every sports fan, nope make that every human being, ought to make certain that box is checked on your driver’s license. It won’t cost you a thing, and as science progresses more and more people will benefit, from a single donor. I’ve also had multiple knee surgeries, and as a USC alum I’ve always been a fan of CP. Big thanks to Mrs. Hyde for her most gracious gift. I’d like to think a part Julie lives on, in Carson and those touched by your kindness.”
Dave has now encouraged those inside and outside the sports industry to stop using outdated terminology and to use “donor tissue” instead – language that honors and respects the gift given by the donor and donor family.
Dave educated a new audience about donation, worked tirelessly to ensure this story would reach as many people as possible. For his outreach and commitment to educate the public about organ, eye and tissue donation, DLA is honored to present David Fleming with this year’s James S. Wolf, M.D., Courage Award.
About Donate Life America
Donate Life America is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit alliance of national organizations and Donate Life State Teams across the United States committed to increasing the number of donated organs, eyes and tissue available to save and heal lives. Donate Life America manages and promotes the national brand for donation, Donate LifeSM; develops and executes effective multi-media donor education programs; motivates the American public to register now as organ, eye and tissue donors; and assists Donate Life State Teams and national partners in facilitating high-performing donor registries.