The Basic Facts
- The total number of patients waiting for an organ transplant today numbers more than 116,000. Over 607 of them are 5 years old or younger. (OPTN data July 24, 2017)
- The waiting list for organ transplants is growing at the rate of 4,000 per month. Another name is added to the waiting list every 10 minutes.
- On average, twenty people die every day in the U.S. while awaiting a lifesaving organ transplant.
- In the TDS area, over 2,800 people are on the waiting list, yet in 2016 only 334 Tennesseans were organ donors. (OPTN data July 24, 2017)
- More than 33,500 patients began new lives in 2016 thanks to organ transplants, and 908 in the state of Tennessee.
- Yet in 2016 , there were only 9,971 people who donated one or more organs upon death. There were another 5,979 living organ donors. (OPTN data July 24, 2017)
- The average consent rate nationwide for organ donation has risen from 58% in 2003 to 70%. However, a recent study completed by HRSA found 96% of respondents willing to donate a deceased family member’s organs if he or she had expressed this wish prior to death. It is very important to sign up on the Donate Life Registry either through the DMV when you apply for or renew your driver’s license or online at: www.DonateLifeTN.org in Tennessee, www.DonateLifeVirginia.org in Virginia, or www.DonateLifeGA.org in Georgia.
- Transplantation is no longer considered experimental. It is a desired treatment for thousands with end-stage organ disease. Each year, approximately 1.75 million Americans receive tissue transplants, over 40,000 have their sight restored through cornea transplants.
- In recent years, medical breakthroughs have greatly improved the success rate for transplantation… it now generally runs in excess of 80% for transplants overall.
Also, to dispel some myths and misconceptions:
- Becoming a donor will not affect the quality of your medical care. Organ recovery takes place only after all efforts to save your life have been exhausted, and doctors have declared you legally brain dead. The donor family pays none of the costs associated with donation.
- Transplants are accessible and available to everyone. Celebrity status and wealth do not enter into the equation. Organs are allocated according to medical criteria (urgency of medical need, blood/tissue type, height and weight).
- Most major religions support or permit donation and consider it a gift, an act of charity.