Thursday, October 01, 2009

Hospitals honored for high organ donation rates

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today presented awards to 428 of the nation’s hospitals for their success in increasing the number of organs available for transplantation, according to a news release from the Health Resources and Services Administration. These hospitals were awarded the Department’s Medal of Honor for Organ Donation for achieving and sustaining national goals for donation, including a donation rate of 75 percent or more of eligible donors at their facilities

Kudos to all of these hospitals for converting 75% of potential organ donors into actual donors.

The national conversion rate is about 50%, which means that 50% of the organs that could have saved lives were buried or cremated instead.

There is a simple way to reduce this terrible waste -- 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. People who aren't willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.

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 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 13,000 members, including members in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

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Anonymous said...

The national conversion rate hasn't been 50% since 2003. Thanks to federal initiatives focusing on the role of hospitals in the donation process as well as the expansion of state-authorized donor registries, the national conversion rate has increased to 70%.

Dave said...

If the national conversion rate was 70% that would be good news, but it would still mean 30% of transplantable organs are not donated.

I haven't been able to find any support for the 70% claim, but I hope it's true.