April was National Donate Life Month, when the organ donation and transplantation community draws attention to the dire need for organ and tissue donors, encourages individuals to learn the facts about donation and inspires them to document their decisions by joining a state donor registry.
As we continue to register even more donors, I am struck by how far we’ve come in the last five years.
In 2017, the number of deceased organ donors in the U.S. exceeded 10,000 for the first time, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. Due to the generosity of individuals who provided the gift of life to others in need, 34,768 people received lifesaving organ transplants. This marks the fifth consecutive record-setting year for organ transplants in the U.S.
Out of these 34,768 donor recipients, more than 82 percent were from deceased donors, while living donor transplants made up the remaining 18 percent.
Here in Florida, there were 2,184 transplants performed, which was a small increase from 2016. Within LifeQuest Organ Recovery Services, which covers all of northern Florida, there were 139 organ donors who provided 430 organs for lifesaving transplants.
Through our donor programs, we strive to educate the public about the importance of organ donation and encourage individuals to document their donation decision through the state’s donor registry. The transplant community is also working to expand the clinical criteria for potential donors in a way to maximize this gift of life.
“As we increase our understanding of medical criteria that contribute to successful transplantation, donation and transplantation professionals have been able to use organs from a wider set of potential donors,” said David Klassen, M.D., UNOS chief medical officer. “In doing so, we continue to carefully balance the opportunity for transplantation with a commitment to maintaining patient safety.”
As research and medical criteria evolve and more and more people sign up as a donor, one thing remains constant … it is our privilege and honor to serve and support Florida’s donation and transplantation community and to help those in need of life-saving and life-enhancing