Each day, 22 people in the U.S. die waiting for needed organ transplants, according to Donate Life Ohio, a coalition of the State’s organ, eye and tissue recovery agencies. Licking Memorial Hospital (LMH) encourages Licking County community members to help save lives by learning more about the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation and supporting this cause through registration in the Ohio Donor Registry. “In keeping with our mission to improve the health of our community, Licking Memorial Health Systems (LMHS) has become a more active advocate for organ donation,” said Rob Montagnese, LMHS President & CEO.
Transplantation is one of the most remarkable success stories in the history of medicine. It gives a second chance at life to thousands of people facing organ failure and provides many others with active and renewed lives. But despite continuing advances in medicine and technology, the need for organs and tissues is vastly greater than the number available for transplantation. Unfortunately, thousands of Americans, more than 120,000 men, women and children, including 3,400 Ohioans, are currently on the national waiting list for lifesaving organ transplants, without enough organ donors to meet the growing need. Every ten minutes another person is added to the waiting list. Every 48 hours an Ohioan dies waiting and 8,000 lives are lost every year because organs are not donated in time.
Organ transplants performed in the United States in 2015 exceeded 30,000 for the first time annually, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This represents an increase of nearly 4.9 percent over 2014 and continues a three-year trend of annual record numbers. Approximately 81 percent of the transplants involved organs from deceased donors, who can donate multiple organs, while nineteen percent were made possible by living donors. One person can save up to 8 lives by donating organs, restore sight to 2 people by donating their cornea, and heal the lives of fifty people by donating tissue.
The opportunity to impact lives starts with a personal commitment to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor. Being an advocate for organ donation can be easily accomplished. Visit DonateLifeOhio.org to learn more about donation and how to register. Registration forms also are available at the LMH Main Entrance reception desk. Donors are accepted regardless of age or past medical history – anyone can be a potential donor. Individuals who are 15½ years or older can register their decision to donate when receiving or renewing their license or state identification card; however, if a youth passed away prior to turning 18, a parent or guardian can amend or revoke their loved one’s donation decision. Organs are matched through the United Network for Organ Sharing based on body size, blood type, medical urgency and geographic location as it relates to travel time. Physicians do not accept or decline organ donations based on race, gender, age or any other discriminatory factor. Share the decision to be an organ donor with friends and family members. Sharing organ donation wishes can help increase the understanding and positive impact of organ donation.
LMHS was recognized by Donate Life Ohio, the Ohio Hospital Association (OHA) and the Ohio Department of Health’s Second Chance Trust Fund for taking action to reduce that number during 2014. The Hospital was named a Gold Partner in the Midsize Hospital category of the 2013-2014 Hospital Champions program, which aimed to increase organ, eye and tissue donor registration.