Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Why is there a shortage of organs?

The Lowell Sun published a story about LifeSharers today titled "Can give-and-take end organ-donor dearth?"

In the story, Sean Fitzpatrick of the New England Organ Bank says LifeSharers "is based on an incorrect assumption that the primary reason for the shortage is that people say no to donations. But the primary reason for the shortage of organs is that very few people die in a manner suitable for donations."

It's true that usable organs can be recovered from less than 1% of the people who die. But if every one of those people actually donated their organs, then the organ shortage would be a whole lot smaller than it is. Some experts say it would even disappear.

Unfortunately, in the United States we recover organs from only about half of the people who could have actually donated. Some of these people didn't sign up to be donors. Some of them did sign up but had their wishes vetoed by family members.

LifeSharers helps solve both of these problems. We recruit new organ donors. Since many of our members have convinced their family members to also join LifeSharers, we also make it less likely that donors' wishes will be overridden.

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