Wellness Words April 2016

Wellness Words April 2016

HealthLink Littauer’sCarol Tomlinson-Head


Submitted by Carol Tomlinson, RN BS

Community Health Educator


Become An Organ, Eye & Tissue Donor


Organ, eye and tissue donation may not be the most popular topic, but it is one that saves thousands of lives every year. There is no age limit to becoming a donor. In fact, the oldest donor was 93! Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be in perfect health. Except in the case of kidney donations, your eligibility to donate organs or tissues won’t be determined until after your death.


According to the Center for Organ and Tissue Donation, there are currently over 100,000 patients waiting for life-saving transplants in the U.S. Every 14 minutes, another name is added to the waiting list and an average of 18 people die every day due to a lack of transplantable organs.


One donor can save or enhance the lives of up to 50 people. Today the heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, small intestines and pancreas can all be transplanted in individuals whose own organs are failing. Tissues that may be donated include bone, heart valves, skin, cartilage, tendons, veins and corneas.

Some examples of the uses of tissue donation include:

  • Donated bone can prevent amputation for bone cancer patients.
  • Tendons and cartilage can replace tissue lost or injured due to trauma, disease or infection.
  • Veins can be used to reestablish blood circulation after bypass surgery which can prevent heart attack.
  • Donated skin may be used to help save severe burn victims.
  • Heart valves have the ability to “grow” in younger patients, reducing the need for repeat surgeries.
  • Cornea recipients are often given the chance to see for the first time.

Truths about becoming a donor to remember include:

  • People of any age can become donors.
  • Registered donors receive the same care in hospitals as non-donors. The medical staff trying to save lives is completely separate from the transplant team.
  • Most major religions in the United States do not prohibit organ or tissue donation.
  • Donation does not prohibit an open-casket funeral.
  • There is absolutely no cost for donation.

How do you sign up to become an organ, eye and tissue donor? It’s simple!

  1. Go online to health.ny.gov/donatelife and choose the option that is best for you.
  2. Call the New York State Donate Life Registry at 1-866-693-6667.
  3. Tell your family and be sure they are aware of your decision so they can support your wishes.

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!   Registering to be an organ, eye and tissue donor is one of the finest and most unselfish humanitarian actions you can take. Why not take the time now to declare your wish to give the gift of life?

For more information, call HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120. You can e-mail us at healthlink@nlh.org, see our website at nlh.org, or visit our new wellness center at 2 Colonial Court in downtown Johnstown, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.