Registry organizers hope to improve poor NYS ranking for organ donation

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Story Updated: Apr 9, 2013

NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. (WKTV) - New York State ranks 47th in the United States for organ donations, but a series of registry drives in the area hopes to change that.

April is National Donate Life Month and Faxton-St. Luke's Healthcare hosted a registry drive in the cafeteria of the St. Luke's Campus of Faxton-St. Luke's Healthcare on Tuesday for those interested in organ and tissue donation.

More than 10,000 New Yorkers are currently awaiting an organ transplant and the need for donations far exceeds the number of available organs.

"If you would take from somebody who has passed away and donated, why wouldn't you sign up to give," said Andrew Sigond, a Hospital and Community Services Specialist on what he tells people who are questioning whether or not to donate.

Organizers of the registry event say that only about 20 percent of adults in New York State have registered to donate.

"In the past, you had to sign up at the DMV, so when you go renew your license every seven years, that's not exactly frequent enough to get people to register," Sigond said. "So I think, now with better access and more information, people can really be armed to make a good, informed decision and get the percentage of adults up in New York State."

Sigond said that aside from the infrequency of opportunity to register, he thinks that things such as online registry in other states have attributed to New York's poor ranking. However, he hopes that recent changes will help bring the topic back to the forefront of people's minds.

"Recently they (the state) passed a law called Lauren's Law, which requires adults to give a donation decision when they renew their license," he said. "So in New York State, we expect our percentages to climb rapidly over the coming years with people now mandated to say yes or no, not at this time. So, I think, with that, we'll see the numbers grow."

If you missed Tuesday's registration, there are two more events on Wednesday April 17.

One runs from 10 a.m. to Noon at the Center for Rehabilitation and Continuing Care Services on 1650 Champlin Ave in Utica and another from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the cafeteria at the Faxton Campus on 1676 Sunset Ave in Utica.

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