April is National Donate Life Month. More than 100,000 people are currently waiting for lifesaving organ transplants in the United States. If you have not registered to be a donor, this is a great time to consider signing up.
RiverView Health works with LifeSource, an organization referred to as “the first responders making organ, eye, and tissue donation and transportation a reality.’’ When LifeSource receives a call about a potential donor, representatives meet with grieving families to discuss donation, then transport organs to those desperately awaiting the transplant.
One person can save up to eight lives through deceased donation. Deceased organ donors can donate their kidneys, liver, lungs, heart, pancreas, and intestines. Tissue and eye donation can also take place. Tissue donation may include bones and tendons, heart valves, veins/arteries, skin, and corneas.
In 2021, donations from three patients who passed away at RiverView were given through LifeSource.
LifeSource teams in Minneapolis reported the following results from the 2021 donations:
- Skin donation was taken to be used primarily for wound care surgeries to act as a protective shield, decrease pain, and prevent fluid loss. The donation could also be used in breast reconstructive surgery for breast cancer survivors.
- Bone and connective tissue were taken to be used primarily to help restore mobility for patients. “We estimate over 75 people will benefit from these gifts in ortho-neuro surgeries like hip and knee replacement surgeries, implants with prosthetics, spinal, lumbar, and cervical fusion surgeries, and much more,’’ shared a LifeSource representative.
“Many people will receive new health and life through these gifts,’’ the LifeSource letter stated. “A special thanks (to RiverView) for your referral, for all of your help in gathering information, your communication with LifeSource, the funeral home, and especially for supporting the family through the loss of their loved one. Thanks to everyone involved. Your care and compassion ensured that the final wishes of these patients were carried out, and they will be able to help restore and renew health and life for many grateful recipients.’’
Living donation is the other way to donate. Through living donation, a living person can donate a kidney or part of a liver, lung, intestine, or pancreas to another person in need of a transplant. Living donation is a process facilitated directly through transplant centers.
In 2021, more than 6,500 living donors decided to give one of their kidneys or a part of their liver to someone waiting for a second chance at life. Others gave the healing gift of birth tissue. Birth tissue includes tissues such as placenta and amniotic membrane. Grafts derived from birth tissue promote natural wound healing.
By being an organ, eye, and tissue donor, you can save and heal lives. One person can:
- Save up to 8 lives through organ donation.
- Heal more than 75 lives through tissue donation.
- Restore sight for up to 2 lives through eye donation and potentially heal up to 10 individuals through ocular tissue.
If you would like to register as a donor, go to registerme.org to sign up today.