The nation’s organ transplant system broke records across the board in 2015, good news for thousands of critically ill Americans whose lives were saved or improved as a result.
There were 30,973 transplants last year, more than in any prior year and all made possible by the generosity of 9,078 families that donated the organs of deceased relatives and another 5,984 living donors, most of whom provided one of their two kidneys. The figures on deceased donors reflected increases in the numbers from nearly all segments of the population – including 5,973 whites, 1,477 African-Americans, 1,233 Hispanics and 232 Asians.
The figures represent welcome news given the growing transplant waiting lists where, right now, the hopes of nearly 122,000 people reside.
Officials from the nation’s organ procurement organizations said a variety of tactics helped to drive up the number of donors. For instance, the head of LifeShare Donor Transplant Services of Oklahoma told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he pursues older donors, even though their medical conditions may limit the number of recoverable organs. The head of O'Hara’s Center for Organ Recovery and Education said improved collaboration with hospitals helped, as did an improved public attitude that donation is part of end-of-life care.
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The agencies deserve to be congratulated for the exemplary work they performed last year.
One donor can save as many as eight lives and enhance dozens of others, according to unos.org, because organs and tissues that can be donated include heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, liver, intestines, corneas, skin, tendons, bone and heart valves.
Organ donors provide a priceless gift to humanity.