For the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. - 1 Chronicles 28:9

A Factsheet on Organ Transplantation

Christian Life Resources, June 2004

For Your Information:

According to a report dated June 15, 2004, by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the number of Americans in need of organ transplants is outpaced by the number of organs available for transplantation.

The Commission in its "Health Care at the Crossroads" Report estimates that over the next year, more than 6,000 people of over 85,000 Americans on an organ transplant waiting list will die before a vital organ becomes available. The report found that the waiting list for organs grows by 19 percent each year. Donations during the past year (2003) increased 4.8%, after average yearly increases of 3.7% during the preceding decade.

Among the recommendations in the report:

  • Organ donation must be made as a higher priority
  • Equity, fairness, and safety must be achieved
  • The supply of donated organs must be increased
  • Notable Quotable:

    "The challenge today is to make the gift of life available to all who need it," says Dennis S. O’Leary, M.D., president, Joint Commission.

    What You Can Do:

    Become an organ donor


    Quick Statistics on the Organ Donation Gap (from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations):

  • More than 85,000 people are currently on the waiting list for an organ; more than 6,000 people per year are dying while waiting. – United Network for Organ Sharing, March 14, 2004
  • The waiting list for organs grows by an average of 19 percent every year. – United Network of Organ Sharing
  • Eighty percent of organ donations are from 19 percent of all hospitals. – New England Journal of Medicine, August 2003
  • The rates at which hospitals successfully obtain consent for organ donation range from more than 90 percent to less than 10 percent. – Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients
  • The number of potential deceased donors from all hospitals ranges from 10,500 to 13,800 per year. – New England Journal of Medicine
  • A recent study found that 54 percent of potential donor families consented to organ donation; 39 percent of families would not consent; and 16 percent of families were never asked. – New England Journal of Medicine, August 2003
  • Since 2001, the number of living donors has surpassed deceased donors (6,618 vs. 6,182), almost entirely due to living kidney donation (94%), although the rate of growth in living donation has slowed dramatically. – 2003 OPTN/STR Annual Report: Transplant Data 1993-2002
  • Of the estimated 17 million people with diabetes in this country, about 5.9 million are undiagnosed. Without treatment, diabetes can rapidly progress to kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, and stroke. – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • African Americans represent 12 percent of the overall U.S. population, yet account for more than 35 percent of patients awaiting a kidney donation. – Transplantation Reviews
  • Whereas white patients with end-stage renal disease wait an average of 675 days to receive a suitable kidney, black patients wait an average of 1,603 days. – Transplantation Reviews
  • And once placed on the waiting list for transplantation, blacks wait more than twice as long for an organ; have five-year graft survival rates 10 to 20 percent lower than other race/ethnic groups; and receive far fewer (14 percent) living donations than whites (78 percent). – American Journal of Transplantation
  • Over the past 15 years, the minority organ donation rate has doubled to 28.5 percent. – Transplantation Reviews
  • In 2003, minority donation rates rose 13 percent for Hispanics and 11 percent for African Americans. – U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona
  • Researchers have estimated that one in three liver donors suffers a medical complication, and half of those are serious complications. Another study found that 30 percent of liver donors had to be rehospitalized. This same study found that the typical living donor is hospitalized for about 10 days, takes 2.5 months off of work, and needs another month for full recovery. As of 2002, 56 kidney donors have themselves later needed kidney transplantation. – Los Angeles Times
  • Seven to 20 percent of non-renal transplant patients experience chronic renal failure within five years of their transplants. – New England Journal of Medicine

    What the Bible Says About Organ Transplants

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