There are currently more than 113,000 people in the U.S. waiting for organ transplants. Each year, approximately 6,000 people die waiting for an organ transplant that would have given them a second chance at life. Additionally, each year hundreds of thousands of people benefit from donated tissue that is used for life-saving and reconstructive purposes, and corneas that restore sight.
The most commonly transplanted organs are the kidneys, liver, heart, and lungs. One person can save eight lives and enhance 50 others through organ, eye, and tissue donation. People of all ages, and medical histories, should consider themselves potential donors. Anyone can sign up on the Donate Life Virginia Registry at DMV. You can also sign up by checking Yes! when applying for or renewing your driver’s license or ID.
In recent years, success has been achieved in curing diabetes with a pancreas transplant or extracting and transplanting islet cells from the pancreas that produce insulin. Although only a small number of intestinal transplants have been performed, this treatment holds great hope for patients whose intestines have been severely damaged through illness, trauma or birth defects. Sometimes the stomach is also recovered and transplanted at the same time.
Commonly recovered and transplanted tissues enhance the lives of many who suffer from traumatic injury or disease:
- Skin is used as a temporary dressing for burns, serious abrasions and other exposed areas.
- Bone is used in orthopedic surgery to facilitate healing of fractures or to prevent amputation.
- Heart valves are used to replace defective valves, often in children.
- Tendons are used to repair torn ligaments on knees or other joints.
- Veins are used in cardiac bypass surgery.
- Corneas can restore sight to the blind.
- Many tissues that cannot be used for transplant can be recovered and used in a variety of research studies to advance medical science.
Source: Donate Life Virginia
If you plan on becoming an organ donor, know that just by making that decision, you are already making a big difference in the lives of others. Learn more about becoming an organ donor. Send us a message today!