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March 02, 2008

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mona gibson

i have cirrhosis and no insurance on medicare and I believe I have no hope for a organ transplant. My past of drug addiction and age. I have been to the IU transplant unit in indianapolis indiana and was told no need to return. I know i am not serious but it does take along time to get a liver. My family is willing to all sign up for donor if I have a chance to get one.

Dave Undis

Over half of the 98,000 Americans on the national transplant waiting list will die before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate about 20,000 transplantable organs every year. Over 6,000 of our neighbors suffer and die needlessly every year as a result.

There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage -- give organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren't willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.

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, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition.

Joseph S. Galati, M.D.

Thank you, Catherine. Clearing up some of the myths that surround organ and tissue donation is a key element of public education.

Catherine Burch Graham

Thanks, Dr. Galati, for helping LifeGift erase that myth for your listener/blog reader. There are many criteria for becoming an organ or tissue donor. While age is one, there are other medical and social aspects of a person's life that impact whether a person can, in fact, become a donor. In fact, LifeGift is the agency that recovered an organ from the oldest donor ever in 2007, a 93-year old North Texas man! The recipient is doing well. Additionally, donations of tissue - bone (to treat cancer patients), skin (benefit burn victims), heart valves (children with heart defects), corneas (restore sight)are routinely recovered from individuals over 70. For more, go to www.lifegift.org.

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