There are many people that need organs; there are over 71,000 people waiting for transplants in the United States (United Network for Organ Sharing). This list is growing rapidly in the United States alone; a new name is added to the transplant waiting list every 16 minutes (UNOS). This should be reason enough for individuals to donate but this isn’t the case or we wouldn’t have a waiting list this large.
Organ and tissue transplantation is proven to extend and enhance lives. Medical advances continue to make transplantation safer and more effective. As of the beginning of 2000, the survival rates for transplants are about 95% for kidney recipients, 85% for liver and heart recipients and 75% for lung recipients (Wisconsin donor network). Unfortunately, organ and tissue donation has not increased at the same pace. Although approximately fifty-five people each day receive life enhancing organ transplants, another ten people die each day on the national waiting list.
“ People don’t die because of organ donation. Organ donation happens because people die, says Tim Olsen from the Wisconsin donor network.” Organ donation does not happen until after brain death is pronounced. An estimated 15,000 brain deaths occur in the United States each year, but only 30% of that number becomes an organ donors (UNOS). Brain death occurs when a person has an irreversible brain injury that causes all brain activity to stop permanently. Some organs are still useable after brain death but the standards for determining brain death are very strict. Even without brain function, the organs can be artificially maintained for a short time with a ventilator. The law clearly states that the doctor who pronounces brain death must have nothing to do with the removal or transplantation of organs.
There are 25 different organs and tissues that can be donated. They are the heart, lung, liver, kidney, pancreas, and intestine...