Natasha Richardson donates organs

It was learned yesterday that the family of Natasha Richardson donated her organs in order to help others.  It is always a difficult subject for doctors to bring up to grieving family members at a time of crisis, but one that is so important.

The success rates of transplant surgery have improved remarkably, but growing shortages exist in the supply of organs and tissues available for transplantation. Many Americans who need transplants cannot get them because of these shortages. The result: some of these people die while waiting for that “Gift of Life.”

Did you know…?

* Almost 100,000 men, women and children currently need life-saving organ transplants.
* Every 12 minutes another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list.
* An average of 18 people die each day from the lack of available organs for transplant.
* In 2005, there were 7,593 deceased organ donors and 6,895 living organ donors resulting in 28,108 organ transplants.
* In 2005, 44,000 grafts were made available for transplant by eye banks within the United States.
* Approximately 1,000,000 tissue transplants are performed annually.
* According to research, 98% of all adults have heard about organ donation and 86% have heard of tissue donation.
* 90% of Americans say they support donation, but only 30% know the essential steps to take to be a donor.

Source:* http://www.donatelife.net/UnderstandingDonation/

For more information:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/organdonation.html
http://www.organdonor.gov/donation/index.htm
http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/299/2/244.pdf

Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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