Organ Donation and Transplantation Save Lives
The National Network of Organ Donors
Fixing the Problem
The Problem: Tragically, 19 people die every day in this country waiting for an organ transplant. At The National Network of Organ Donors, we believe that number should be zero — and we are dedicated to ensuring that every single person in the U.S. who needs a transplant gets one.
The statistics are staggering — and heartbreaking. More than 111,000 people are currently on UNOS’ transplant waiting list, and the number of people who die waiting for transplants continues to grow: from 10 people each day in 1990, to 14 a day in 1996, to 19 today. That number will be even higher by 2020 unless we make a serious effort to reverse the trend today.
The problem isn’t that people don’t want to donate organs or even that they don’t sign up to become donors. It’s that currently, the health care and legal systems don’t ensure that a person’s wishes regarding organ donation are honored. Even if you sign a donor card or the back of your driver’s license, if your family doesn’t give its approval, the hospital will not procure your organs — in spite of your prior written consent. The National Network of Organ Donors believes that signing a legal document should guarantee, without exception, that your wishes are met.
That’s why we created the network, and why we’ve made it our mission to get every adult in America to join the registry. We want to remove the barriers, both legal and emotional, that can prevent life-saving transplants from taking place.
We understand that a grieving family may not be in the position to make a decision about organ donation at the time of their loved one’s death. And yet, that’s precisely when doctors must ask family members for permission. Why do hospitals need this consent if you have already signed an organ donor card or the back of your driver’s license? Because they may fear a lawsuit if they go against the wishes of a patient’s family, especially if the family is vehemently opposed to organ donation.
By lobbying Congress to pass legislation that gives hospitals and doctors immunity from lawsuits in cases where a patient’s intent to donate organs is being challenged by family members, The National Network of Organ Donors hopes to eliminate the issue of liability from the decision-making process. This will enable health care providers to honor a patient’s — and only the patient’s — wishes regarding organ donation.
And that’s just one of the changes we’re working to enact. The National Network of Organ Donors, a 501(c)3 organization, will collaborate with our nation’s health care professionals, hospitals and trauma centers; with lawmakers; with the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) and other transplant listing organizations; and with a variety of other individuals and institutions from coast to coast. Through these partnerships, and with your support, we are confident we can put systems in place to prevent needless deaths.
WE NEED YOUR HELP!