More than 600,000 New Yorkers have enrolled in the state's new Organ and Tissue Donor Registry, according to Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus. The goal of the Registry, which began operation in 2000, is to educate people about donations and encourage people to consider organ and tissue donations.
“Organ transplants save lives. Tissue transplants fight infection in burn patients, prevent the loss of arms and legs and restore eyesight. This is especially important to remember as we approach March the month we observe Eye Donor Month,” said Steinhaus.
Dutchess County Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Caldwell stated, “The need for organ donations continues to exceed the supply. More than 1,000 kidneys, livers and hearts are transplanted in New York State each year, but more than 8,000 New Yorkers are still on waiting lists,” he said.
The Registry is a confidential, computerized listing of all state residents who check the "donor" box on their Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) new driver license, driver license renewal or non-driver identification card application,” informed Steinhaus. The program is administered by the New York State Department of Health and donors may also submit a Uniform Donor enrollment card or enroll through the State Health Department’s Web site: http://www.health.state.ny.us/.
“Anyone can become a donor,” said Dr. Caldwell. “A person's medical history or age does not automatically exclude him or her from becoming a donor. There are no costs for the family of the individual who donates his or her organs and tissues and donating will not affect the funeral service,” added Dr. Caldwell.
In the event of a person's death, the local organ procurement organization or tissue bank will inform the family of the individual's decision. The family will have to give consent, so it is advisable that anyone who wants to become a donor should discuss his or her wishes with family members.
“Consenting to donation helps some families deal with the loss of a loved one,” added County Executive Steinhaus, “Knowing that something good will come from their loss can be of great comfort.”
For more information, call one of these organ procurement organizations:
* Albany - Center for Donation and Transplant
(518) 262-5606 or 1-800-256-7811
* Buffalo - Upstate New York Transplant Services
(716) 853-6667 or 1-800-227-4771
* New York City Metropolitan Area - New York Organ Donor Network
(212) 870-2240 or 1-800-443-8469
* Rochester/Syracuse - Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network
(585) 272-4930 or 1-800-810-5494
Or, call the New York State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry information line at 1-866-693-6667 or 1-866-NYDONOR.