One Life Can Save Up to 60 Lives
By Dave Hewett
There is a 58% chance that your next adult patient is a registered organ, tissue and eye donor. LifeSource is the federally designated organization to provide organ and tissue donation services in the states of South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota. SDAHO is partnering with LifeSource to promote donor designation in our state and to recognize those generous donors and their families who already made that choice to donate, but we need your help!
April is National Donate Life Month and hospitals throughout the state are partnering with LifeSource to participate in a campaign called “Let Life Bloom” focused on registering individuals to be donors. Donation saves lives and the need is great. Currently, there are over 300 South Dakotans waiting for a kidney and many more on dialysis. Donation also saves costs, as it’s estimated that a kidney transplant pays for itself in a little over 3 years. Increasing donor designation will increase donation and help all who are waiting for organs and tissues.
South Dakota’s 58% donor designation rate is much higher than the national average of 45% and yet still does not match our neighboring states of North Dakota at 68% and Minnesota at 63%. Great strides have been made including significant legislation passed last year that allows individuals to register online, makes the registration form at the DMV easier and provides opportunity for individuals to promote donation with a special Donate Life license plate sticker.
As physicians, you are the most trusted source of health care information for your patients. If they ask you about organ and tissue donation you can reference LifeSource and direct them to www.life-source.org. The website provides general information, personal stories about donation and transplantation and an opportunity to register to be a donor. There is also a Professional Partners section on the site to provide a more clinical view of donation and resources to help promote donation in hospitals and clinics. One of the most interesting things I learned about being a donor is that age is not a factor! Your age or health should not prevent you from registering to be an organ or tissue donor. Most health conditions do not prevent donation and age is not a factor - the oldest organ donor was 92!
We’re proud at SDAHO to team up with LifeSource along with donation and transplantation hospitals across the state to promote the “Let Life Bloom” campaign. Please join us in this effort to effect change and increase South Dakota’s number of registered donors.
It takes just minutes. You can sign up to become a donor at https://apps.sd.gov/ps09onlinerenewal/organdonorupdate.aspx
Dave Hewett is the President and CEO of the South Dakota Association of Health Care Organizations. (SDAHO)