Organ Donors & Politics


A couple of weeks ago, during the mudslinging phase of the latest election cycle, where it seems that EVERYTHING becomes politicized, I got into a discussion with a person I knew from long ago. The discussion started off in regard to my heart transplant and all the current details surrounding my health. During the discussion, this person lobbed out a “fact”, as he called it, about organ donation. He simply stated that it’s a fact (in his mind) that the more liberal states like New York and California have fewer organ donors, therefore liberal people are not as compassionate as they claim.

Well, I knew this to be false, but I couldn’t quote the actual facts at that point. And, it probably wouldn’t have changed this persons mind anyway. So, I simply stated that organ donation is NOT about politics at all, it’s about saving lives and that’s why I’m still here, speaking with you right now.

Regardless, the comments he made bothered me enough to look up the facts. I went to the DonateLife annual report card, which is almost a year old by now.

 It can be seen here ~ http://www.donatelife.net/pdfs/DLA_Report_Card_2010_FINAL.pdf

While it does show that both the states of New York (13%) & California (22%) to have less than stellar percentages (Actionable Donor Designations / Total population over 18 years), there were many states that were worse and many that were better. The overall national percentage was 37%. Even as I tried to apply red state versus blue state “logic” it simply wasn’t true.

I tried to look for patterns by location (North versus south, East versus west), population density, prosperity, etc and there simply are NO obvious patterns that could support ANY type of biased approach when it comes to registering organ donors.

I don’t have the time to look up all the state laws, but I’m thinking that the percentages are more about timing as to when certain states enacted laws in regard to registered organ donor lists, how to easily sign up, and list maintenance. There could also be a huge difference in how much money is spent by the states in terms of educating the populace and advertising the benefits of organ donations.

The bottom-line for me in all of this is that 37% registered organ donors for this country is truly pathetic. My state (Ohio) is at 55% and I think that number is way low.

WE NEED MORE REGISTERED ORGAN DONORS!! If you aren’t a donor, you can sign up here, right now ~ http://organdonor.gov/donor/registry.shtm

As for the guy that got me started on this …… dude, watch out, I’ve got the facts now.

Be a HERO, be an organ donor!

About DAP

I am a heart transplant recipient and these are my stories and thoughts. My desire is to assist others pre or post heart transplant in anyway possible. Please feel free to contact me if you have a question.
This entry was posted in Heart Transplant. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Organ Donors & Politics

  1. Regardless the range of DESIGNATED donors,unfortunately you can ask any heart transplant surgeon or transplant doctor about donors.Only about 1-2 % of donated organs are used for transplant and it is about the same rate for ACTUAL ORGAN DONORS notwithstanding the good intentions initially of people signing organ donor card.The bottom line is instead of obfuscating the issue by arguing #’s. If you are really interested in helping those who need organs sign and carry an organ donor card and let your family and friends know you have signed. Then you can tell all you are attempting to become part of the soultion and you don’t have to feign knowing what the donor percentsges are since yours will be 100% and it will be incontroverible. mt

  2. my2ndheartbeat says:

    Michael,

    I agree 100%, our families need to know. Mine knew when I signed up LONG ago to be a donor, never even thinking I might actually need an organ someday. We also need MUCH more education for the general public, starting very early in life.

    As for”marketing” organ donations ….. it’s something I do daily. I speak to people, carry blank donor cards with me, have DonateLife plates on 2 vehicles to advertise …. I’m actively attempting to increase awareness and increase the donor roles daily.

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