Here are a few important “facts” about organ donation. Test yourself—and let me know how you did! (Not to worry–I’ll grade on a curve.)
1-Most of the 113,000+ people on the national waiting lists for an organ from a deceased donor are waiting for a heart.
False. More than 80% of them are waiting for a kidney.
2-In the United States, the wait for a kidney from a deceased donor is a matter of months.
False. In many areas of the country, it’s 5 to 10 years.
3-Every year a few hundred people die because they didn’t receive a lifesaving organ in time.
False. About 6,500 people on the lists die while waiting for a kidney each year.
4-A large percentage of people in the United States can be organ donors when they die.
False. Only about 3 in 1,000 people die in such a way that they can be organ donors: generally, in a hospital following a trauma such as a car accident. That’s just 0.3% (yes, I had to look it up).
5-Most living donors are men.
False. Nearly 2/3 of living donors are women.
So, if you’re not already a registered organ donor, you needn’t wait till you renew your driver’s license. You can do it online right now at registerme.org. (There you’ll also find more facts about donation.) And if you’d ever wondered why the wait for a deceased-donor organ is so long, and why donation advocates hope that more people will consider being live donors, now you know the bottom line. There simply aren’t enough organs available.