Nearly 700 Patients in Kentucky Waiting on Organ Donations

by Gabe Bullard on March 29, 2011

Several Louisville-area surgeons and health advocates say Kentucky has a shortage of organ donors, though the dearth is not as wide as it is in other states.

“There are more than 400 patients waiting for a kidney, 150 patients waiting for a liver, 7 patients for a pancreas alone, 16 patients for a kidney/pancreas, 57 patients for a heart and 49 patients waiting for a lung transplant,” says Dr. Michael Marvin with Jewish Hospital and the University of Louisville.

Dr. Marvin says the list is too long, but there are still fewer patients waiting for donors than there are in many larger states. And that’s drawn residents of New York and California to come to Kentucky seeking transplants.

“We are more of a center that attracts people for our relatively short waiting times. There’s still a dramatic need, but it’s better than it is in other states,” says Dr. Marvin.

Organ transplant lists are organized by need and are not first come, first served. Marvin says not everyone on the list is in immediate need of a new organ.

Marvin and others are working on a series of events and an education campaign to encourage Kentuckians to become organ donors.

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{ 1 comment }

David J Undis March 30, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Your story about the need for Organ Donation highlighted the tragic shortage of human organs for transplant operations.

There are now over 110,000 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 14,500 members as of this writing, including 125 members in Kentucky.

Please contact me – Dave Undis, Executive Director of LifeSharers – if your listeners 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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