Our View: Need remains critical for organ donations

Published 10:32 am Wednesday, January 23, 2019

2018 was a year for record-breaking and life-saving for the Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates.

According to a press release from the organ procurement organization, 134 organ donors were cared for resulting in 423 organs transplanted — the highest numbers of organ donors and organs transplanted in KODA’s 32-year history.

“More than 30,000 lives were enhanced by the generosity of the 367 tissue donors,” the release stated. “An additional 1,000 patients have gained the gift of sight through from 824 cornea donors. “

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Kentucky wasn’t the only state to break organ donation records last year.

Nationally, the 36,527 organs transplanted set an annual record for the sixth straight year, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.

Also, there were nearly 6,900 living donor transplants in 2018, the highest total since 2005.

Since 1988, 683,000 transplants have taken place in the U.S.

Even with these record-breaking numbers, the need remains critical.

Nationwide, 114,000 people, including children, are waiting for lifesaving organ transplants.

“Even the largest football stadium in the U.S. could not fit the number of patients on the national transplant waiting list,” according to Donate Life America.

Every 10 minutes, another person is added to that waiting list.

And as those individuals wait, 8,000 deaths occur every year in the U.S. because organs are not donated in time, and 22 people die each day waiting for an organ.

According to recent organ donation statistics, nearly 1,000 people in Kentucky are waiting for organ donation. Hundreds more are on the list for life-enhancing transplants that include cornea and tissue transplants.

According to Donate Life, if you donated your organs, you could save up to eight lives.

If you donated your corneas, you would help restore sight to two people, and donating tissue could help heal up to 75 people.

Anyone can become a donor, but those younger than 18 years old must have the consent of a parent or legal guardian for a donation. While age limits can apply to specific organs or tissues, anyone who would like to donate can register.

Signing up is as easy as signing up when you renew your drivers license or online through the Kentucky Organ Donation Affiliates.

We encourage our readers to consider organ donation, and are happy to see so many others have decided to make lifesaving donations after they pass on.