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Kraig W. Jacobson, M.D.

Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

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April Is National Donate Life Month

Posted by on in Primary Care
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Seventy percent of Oregonians 18 years old or older are registered organ donors. Nonetheless, in the Pacific Northwest, 3,300 people are currently waiting for an organ transplant.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 117,707 people are waiting for an organ donation, and each day 18 people will die waiting. Amazingly, one donor can save up to eight lives and help up to 50 more through tissue and eye donation.

A person of any age can be an organ and tissue donor. Donate Life Northwest's goal is to motivate people to sign up on the donor registry, noting that while 90 percent of Americans support donation, only 40 percent know how to sign up on their state's registry.

By the numbers

Here are some statistics about organ donations in the United States:

  • As of March 2013, 65,991 people awaiting donations are multicultural patients.
  • 1,760 children were awaiting organs (as of December 2012).
  • There were 28,052 organ transplants performed in 2011.
  • In 2012, 14,013 people donated their organs.
  • More than 46,000 corneas were transplanted in 2012.
  • More than 1 million tissue transplants are done each year; surgical need for tissue continues to rise.

What can be donated?

The following organs can be donated:

  • Heart
  • Kidney (a living donor can donate one kidney whereas a deceased donor can donate both)
  • Liver
  • Lungs
  • Pancreas
  • Intestines

The following tissues can be donated:

  • Corneas
  • Heart valves
  • Tendons
  • Skin

The following organs are most needed:

  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Heart
  • Lung

The gift of sight

The cornea is the clear front part of the eye that covers the iris (the thin circular part of your eye that gives you your eye color) and the pupil. Each year, thousands of Americans must undergo corneal surgery. In 2012, over 46,000 corneas were transplanted. This procedure is done to prevent severely impaired vision and blindness.

Living donors

You can be an organ donor while you are living, too. The most common organ donated while a person is alive is one of the two kidneys. While still living, you can also donate bone marrow and other tissues, under special circumstances.

Register now

Medical reasons, not age, may preclude you from being an organ donor. If you have not yet registered to be an organ donor, you can register. Donate Life America and the Mayo Clinic websites explain common misconceptions and inaccuracies about organ donation.

Tagged in: Organ Donation

An energetic problem solver, Dr. Kraig Jacobson has spent his career treating patients and teaching about the complexities of allergy, asthma and immunology. He has practiced medicine in Eugene since 1979. The bigger the challenge, the more he enjoys his work.