Save a Life, Become an Organ and Tissue Donor

April is National Donate Life Month.  This observance honors those who have given the gift of organ and tissue, those who have received a life-saving transplant, and those currently waiting for a transplant.  It is also a good time to review the facts of organ and tissue donation.

There are currently 115,000 people in the United States waiting for a life-saving organ transplant and more than 4,000 living in New Jersey.  The wait time for kidneys, the most needed organ, is five to seven years because the potential to find a suitable organ donor is rare.

One organ and tissue donor can save up to eight lives and restore health to over 75 others. If you think about it, that is a lot of people who can be helped by becoming a registered donor.  Transplantable organs include the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas, and intestine. Transplantable tissue includes corneas to restore sight, bone and ligaments to repair injuries, skin grafts to heal burns and for surgical reconstruction, and heart valves to replace diseased valves.

Although ninety-seven people died in 2017 while waiting for an organ transplant at a New Jersey transplant center, last year also saw more New Jersey residents providing the gift of life with 550 organs transplanted.

Let’s continue that trend of growing our number of registered organ and tissue donors in New Jersey.  Register as an organ and tissue donor today at www.njsharingnetwork.org.  It only takes a minute to register and save lives.

Chadrick Chua, M.D., is the medical director of Critical Care at Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center.  For more information about organ and tissue donation, stop by Raritan Bay’s information tables Tuesday, April 17, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., on the concourse level at Raritan Bay-Perth Amboy, 530 New Brunswick Ave., or Friday, April 20, 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., 3 Hospital Plaza, Raritan Bay-Old Bridge.

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