Changing Lives Through Organ Donation
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Partners Newsletter – Fall 2014

Get the facts about organ donor registration in Upstate New York. Also, in this edition of Partners, test your knowledge about organ, eye and tissue donation. Find out how management times can be extended by as much as 48 to 72 hours. Read how Fred Knewstub received his new heart after waiting 10 months. And, as as a best practice, get insights into unique in-service programs.

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The Power of the Donate Life Registry

Rob Kochik, FLDRN executive directorAccording to the recent Excellus BlueCross BlueShield analysis, The Facts About Organ Donor Registration in Upstate New York, a little less than half of American adults (48 percent) are registered organ and tissue donors. However, only 22 percent of New York State adults are on the registry.

Upstate New York’s percentage of registered donors (31 percent) is higher than the state number.

Over the past 15 years, New York State has taken a number of steps to simplify the organ donation registration process yet there’s still much more to do. This past spring, the New York State budget included funding to contract with a nonprofit organization to administer and modernize the Donate Life Registry.

I am confident big changes are “just around the corner,” but in the meantime we will continue our efforts to elicit the support of our hospital partners and staff.

As individuals, we can lead by example and have “The Conversation” with our family members so we can be sure we know each other’s wishes. As healthcare professionals, we all know the struggles and challenges family members face when we hear “we just don’t know what he/she would have wanted. We never talked about it.”

Just earlier this month, when one of our Coordinators informed the wife of a potential organ donor that her husband was enrolled in the NYS Donate Life Registry, she responded by saying that she was not aware that he was a registered donor, but she was so glad he had already made the decision. She fully supported his wishes. She also commented that if he had not enrolled, “I would have probably said ‘no.'” Talk about the power of the Donate Life Registry.

RELATED LINK: Download the complete Excellus BlueCross BlueShield analysis  (online) or The Facts About Organ Donor Registration in Upstate New York (PDF).

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