National Organ Donor Day

While there have been advances in medical technology and donation, the demand for an organ and tissue donation still vastly exceeds the number of donors. As of today, a total of 121,722 people are waiting for an organ and roughly 22 people will die each day waiting for an organ. Here are some additional facts about organ donations:

  • 1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives.
  • A national computer system and strict standards are in place to ensure ethical and fair distribution of organs. Organs are matched by blood and tissue typing, organ size, medical urgency, waiting time and geographic location.
  • People of all ages and medical histories should consider themselves potential donors. Your medical condition at the time of death will determine what organs and tissue can be donated.
  • Organs and tissues that can be donated include: heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, liver, intestines, corneas, skin, tendons, bone, and heart valves.
  • Organ donation is consistent with the beliefs of most major religions.
  • An open-casket funeral is possible for organ and tissue donors.
  • There is no cost to the donor’s family or estate for organ and tissue donation.
  • If you are sick or injured and admitted to the hospital, the number one priority is to save your life. Organ donation can only be considered after brain death has been declared by a physician.
  • Information about an organ donor is only released to the recipient if the family of the donor requests or agrees to it. Otherwise, a patient’s privacy is maintained for both donor families and recipients.
  • When a patient is “added to the list,” a transplant hospital adds a patient’s medical information into UNOS’ computer system. The patient is not immediately placed on a ranked list. When a deceased organ donor is identified, UNOS’ computer system generates a ranked list of transplant candidates who are suitable to receive each organ. Factors affecting ranking may include blood type, tissue type, medical urgency, waiting time, expected benefit, geography and other criteria.