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.