April is National Donate Life Month, a time to focus attention on the importance of registering an organ and tissue donor via the Donate Life Texas Registry. That’s why Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center Hospital
and LifeGift are partnering this April to address the critical shortage of organs for the nearly 10,000 Texans and the more than 105,000 Americans awaiting a lifesaving organ transplant and thousands of others who will need tissue transplants.
In existence for almost four years, the Registry gives Texans the opportunity to say “yes” to help others one day in the future. In addition, this past fall, the Texas Legislature passed the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, making it easier for Texans to express their consent to be organ and tissue donors.
“Thanks to our partners like Cy-Fair Hospital, more Texans can learn how they can give others a second chance at life,” says Sam Holtzman, LifeGift president and CEO. “Just one full organ and tissue donor can save the lives of 80 people.”
That’s right: one person’s organ and tissue donations can save the lives of up to 80 people. Multiple organs can be donated and harvested for use including: kidneys, hearts, livers, lungs, pancreas, intestines, corneas, skin, bones and/or bone marrow can be donated. Those who are part of an ethnic or cultural minority should especially consider being a donor because some minority populations are more susceptible than others to developing life-threatening diseases for which the only cure is organ transplant. For example, African-Americans and other minorities are three-times more likely to suffer from end-stage renal disease than Caucasians. While there have been successful cross-ethnic transplants performed, the success rate increases greatly with patients receiving organs or tissue from a donor of the same ethnicity.
Another form of organ and tissue donation is called living donation. More than 6,000 living donations are performed every year, making up about 44 percent of all organ donations. The donation of a kidney, lobe of a lung, or portion of one’s liver, pancreas, or intestine can keep loved ones off the donor list and able to get much needed transplants.
“It is important to take the initiative and become an organ donor,” says Alice Elledge, director of nursing at Cy-Fair Hospital. “Countless lives could be saved by your commitment.”
LifeGift works closely with hospital staff members on all aspects of donation, striving to ensure appropriate identification and timing for referrals of potential donors to the medical maintenance of the donor and recovery operation. For families of donors, LifeGift provides information on the donation process, the placement of organs, progress of recipients, and the bereavement process. Regular correspondence continues for at least one year.For more information about LifeGift and the Donate Life Texas Registry, visit www.lifegift.org.