According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, abut 80 people receive organ transplants every day. But, because of the shortage of organs, 20 people die each day waiting for a transplant.
April is National Donate Life Month, which celebrates the tremendous generosity of those who’ve saved lives by becoming organ, tissue, marrow and blood donors and encourages others to do the same. More than 130 million people are registered as organ donors in the U.S.
Your choice makes a difference. When you decide to become an organ, tissue or cornea donor, you can give someone - a mother, father, sister, brother or child - a second chance at life. Up to eight people can benefit from your decision to give.
At El Camino Hospital, we’re committed to honoring our patients’ wishes and educating the community about this important choice. We understand it’s uncomfortable to think about death and organ donation, but you can support your loved ones when you make your wishes known.
How to Become a Donor
You can become an organ, tissue or cornea donor, regardless of age or medical history. The transplant team will determine whether donation is possible at the time of death if you’ve registered as a donor. As a registered donor, your exact wishes will be honored - whether you want to specify what you donate or offer whatever is needed, it’s up to you. There’s no cost to donors or their families for organ or tissue donation.
If you’ve decided you want to become a donor, the first step is to sign up as an organ or tissue donor with Donate Life California, the state-authorized registry.
Also, you should:
- Contact the California Department of Motor Vehicles to designate your decision on your driver’s license.
- Tell others about your decision, including your family members, doctor, faith leader and close friends. It is important to tell them so they can support your choice.
- Specify your decision in your advance healthcare directive, will and living will.
Every 10 minutes, someone new is added to the transplant waiting list. When you register as a donor, you’re giving the gift of hope. Consider what your choice can mean to others in need.
Have questions about you or a loved one becoming an organ, tissue or cornea donor? Contact El Camino Hospital or Donor Network West to learn more.
This article first appeared in the April 2016 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter and was updated in April 2018.