National Campaign Aims to Increase Organ Donation

Watson

This guest post is by Sam R. Watson, senior vice president, Patient Safety and Quality at the Michigan Health & Hospital Association and executive director of the MHA Keystone Center for Patient Safety & Quality.

Hospitals across the country have partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Health Resources and Services Administration on the Workplace Partnership for Life Hospital Campaign to increase organ, eye, tissue, blood and bone marrow donation in U.S. hospitals and communities. The campaign aims to register 300,000 new donors by April 30 through registration drives, social media and other events.

Individuals and businesses can join in the effort to give the gift of life to residents waiting for a transplant this holiday season by visiting www.organdonor.gov and clicking on “How You Can Help.”

Michigan Gives the Gift of Life

Michigan hospitals, in concert with the MHA Keystone Center for Patient Safety & Quality and Gift of Life Michigan, have a longstanding commitment to improve the organ donation process and increase the number of registered donors. These efforts have contributed significantly to saving and improving the lives of thousands of residents.

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson also made expanding Michigan’s organ donor list a priority. Johnson implemented a new policy directing branch employees to ask customers if they would like to join the donor registry and added organ donation reminders to some of the most widely distributed forms at branch offices across the state.

As a result of these efforts, 37,388 people signed up for the Michigan Organ Donor Registry last month, up 56 percent from November 2010. There have been more than 362,000 registrations so far this year — surpassing 2010’s record total of 319,000.

Individuals can register to become an organ donor by visiting the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.

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  1. Your story about Organ Donation highlighted the tragic shortage of human organs for transplant operations.
     
    There are now over 112,000 people on the National Transplant Waiting List, with over 50% of these people dying before they get a transplant.   Most of these deaths are needless.  Americans bury or cremate 20,000 transplantable organs every year.
     
    There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage – give donated organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die.
     
    Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors.  It will also make the organ allocation system fairer.  Everyone who is willing to receive should be willing to give.
     
    Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers.  LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die.  Membership is free at http://www.lifesharers.org or by calling
    1-888-ORGAN88.  There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition.  LifeSharers has over 14,800 members as of this writing, including 422 members in Michigan.
     
    Please contact me – Dave Undis, Executive Director of LifeSharers – if your readers would like to learn more about our innovative approach to increasing the number of organ donors.  I can arrange interviews with some of our local members if you’re interested.  My email address is daveundis@lifesharers.org.  My phone number is 615-351-8622.
     
     
     
     
     

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