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The Dire Need for Organ Donors

More New Yorkers than ever before are signing up to be organ donors, but the state still lags the nation when it comes to the percentage of adults in the donor registry, why is that and what can be done?


Every day last year, about 14 Americans died while waiting for a transplant. New York state’s 35 percent participation rate, compared to 58% of US adults being registered, is the second-lowest donor registration among the 50 states. Yet, the need for organs in New York state is third-highest among the 50 states. Only California (21,387) and Texas (9,750) have more people waiting for organ transplants.

While waiting for a transplant, patients can suffer from wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing at night or early in the morning. About 17,000 Americans have been on the waiting list for 5 or more years.

More New Yorkers than ever before are signing up to be organ donors, but the state still lags the nation when it comes to the percentage of adults in the donor registry, why is that and what can be done?

  • The need for organ and tissue donors in New York remains among the highest in the country.

  • 9,500 New Yorkers are currently on the transplant waiting list.

  • In fact, in the Southern Tier, only 49 percent of adults in the Utica/Rome/North Country region are registered as organ or tissue donors. 
  • I think the answer is that we need to do a better job of communicating the ease of registering as an organ and tissue donor.

 

How does someone sign up to be an organ or tissue donor? 

  • New York state has simplified the process to register as an organ and tissue donor. 
  • In 2017, 16- and 17- year-olds became eligible to join the registry when they apply for a driver’s license or permit. That same year, New Yorkers became eligible to sign up for the Donate Life Registry when applying for or renewing a health insurance plan on the NY State of Health marketplace. 
  • According to New York State Department of Health data from October 2018, nearly 38,000 of the new organ registrations in the previous 12 months were 16- or 17-year-olds, and approximately 91,000 new registrations came from the health insurance marketplace. 
  • You can also, sign up through the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles in-person or online at DMV.NY.gov 
  • Sign up when you register to vote

  • Enroll through NY State of Health when applying for health insurance at NYStateofHealth.NY.gov

  • Complete a paper or online registration form at DonateLife.NY.gov

 

In 2018, 386 New Yorkers became too sick to remain on the waiting list, and 387 died awaiting a transplant. We can all make a difference by registering to be an organ donor today.