The Basic Facts
- On average eighteen people die every day in the U.S. while awaiting a lifesaving organ transplant.
- The total number of patients waiting for an organ transplant today numbers more than 110,000. About one-third of them will die before a donor can be found.
- The waiting list for organ transplants is growing at the rate of 1,000 per month. Another name is added to the waiting list every 13 minutes.
- A total of 28,663 organ transplants were performed in the United States during 2010.
- Yet in 2010, there were only 7,943 people who donated one or more organs upon death. There were another 6,564 living organ donors.
- In 2010, 6,549 Americans – one every 90 minutes – died while waiting for an organ transplant.
- The refusal rate among families of potential donors nationwide is around 50 percent. However, a recent Gallup poll found 93% of respondents willing to donate a deceased family member’s organs if he or she had expressed this wish prior to death.
To ensure your wish to give life is carried out, through a donation directive, it is very important to sign up on the Donate Life Registry within your state (www.donatelife.net).
- Transplantation is no longer considered experimental. It is a desired treatment for thousands with end-stage organ disease. Each year, approximately 900,000 Americans receive tissue transplants and more than 28,000 receive organ 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.
- Currently, only about 8,000 of the approximately 15,000 medically suitable potential donors actually donate each year. Only about one third of the donation potential is being realized.
- Under ideal conditions, one donor can supply as many as 8 organs (heart, 2 lungs, liver, pancreas, 2 kidneys, and intestine). At today’s average recovery rate, the current pool of potential donors could meet the needs of up to 50,000 people per year.
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).
- All major religions support or permit donation and consider it a gift, an act of charity.