Wellness Words April 2011

Wellness Words April 2011

HealthLink Littauer’s


Submitted by Ryan Wille, B.S.

Community Health Educator



April is National Donate Life Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Month and there is no better gift to give than the gift of life! There have been advances in medical technology and donation. However, the demand for organ, eye and tissue donations still vastly exceeds the number of donors. There are currently more than 100,000 men, women and children that need life-saving organ transplant. It is estimated that every 10 minutes another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list and an average of 18 people die each day from the lack of available organs for transplant.

There is a great deal of misconceptions and inaccuracies about donation. The Donate Life America organization has provided several facts that will help individuals better understand organ, eye and tissue donation:

  • Anyone can be a potential donor regardless of age, race, or medical history.
  • All major religions in the United States support organ, eye and tissue donation and see it as the final act of love and generosity toward others.
  • If you are sick or injured and admitted to the hospital, the number one priority is to save your life and treat you. Organ, eye and tissue donation can only be considered after you are deceased.
  • When an individual is on the waiting list for an organ, there are several factors that influence who receives the organ. These include severity of the illness, time spent on waiting list, blood type, and other important medical information. Financial status or celebrity status does not effect waiting time.
  • An open casket funeral is possible for organ, eye and tissue donors. Through the entire donation process, the body is treated with care, respect and dignity.
  • There is no cost to the donor or their family for organ or tissue donation.

In 2006, a new law created the New York State Donate Life Registry. This registry records an individual’s own legal consent to organ, tissue and eye donation upon their death. To ensure that your decision to be a donor is honored, you must enroll in the Donate Life Registry. You can enroll online at http://www.nyhealth.gov/donatelife or through the Department of Motor Vehicles when you apply for or renew your license or non-driver ID.

While organ donation is your own personal choice, it is still important to share your desires with your loved ones. This will make it much easier for them to accept and help avoid any issues that may slow down the donation process.

For more information, visit the Organ & Tissue Donor Registry website listed above or call 1-866-NYDONOR (693-6667). You may also call HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120, e-mail us at healthlink@nlh.org, see our website at www.nlh.org, or visit our wellness center at 213 Harrison Street Ext. in Johnstown, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.