The generosity of live organ donors like Capt. Kelley McCormick [JP Gazette, June 8, 2007] is remarkable. But we wouldn’t need many live organ donors if Americans weren’t burying or cremating 20,000 transplantable organs every year.
There is a better way to put a big dent in the organ shortage: If you don’t agree to donate your organs when you die, then you go to the bottom of the waiting list if you ever need an organ to live.
Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. About 50 percent of the organs transplanted in the United States go to people who haven’t agreed to donate their own organs when they die.
Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at www.lifesharers.org or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit and parents can enroll their minor children. No one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition. LifeSharers has 8,859 members, including 147 members in Massachusetts.
David J. Undis
The writer is the executive director of LifeSharers.