Upon my request, the Westchester County Board of Legislators named April Organ Donor Month in Westchester County. We had a ceremony this past Monday, April 3 to honor a Westchester resident, Paul Broderick, who bravely donated a kidney to save the life of Tom Jasinski of Buffalo. Tom then founded an organization called ONE8FIFTY – http://one8fifty.org – which is dedicated to advocating for organ donation in New York. My 16 County Legislator colleagues all agreed to work together to spread the word about the importance of organ donations to help save lives – let’s all dedicate ourselves to this important issue.
Important facts on organ donation:
- There is a severe shortage of organs for life-saving transplants across the nation.
- NY State is ranked last in US for the number of registered organ donors per capita, and Westchester has one of lowest rates in our state – we must do better.
- We have people waiting for organ transplants, as well as for tissue donations, such as skin for burn victims, or eye donations for sight-restoring cornea transplants – 10,000 NY residents are currently waiting for lifesaving organs.
- Without these surgeries, many of these people waiting will die or remain disabled, while transplants give people a chance to resume full, productive lives.
How do I sign up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor?
- Here in NY, you should sign up for the NY State Donate Life Registry (you must be 18) to become an organ donor, which you can do when you obtain a driver license or renew your license by signing the donor box.
- Signing the back of your license doesn’t enroll you in NY State Donate Life Registry.
- You can also sign up through the NY State Health Department’s website at www.health.ny.gov/donatelife or on your voter registration form.
- Signing up for the NY State Donate Life Registry documents your gift – you are giving your legal consent to donate organs, eyes and tissues after death.
- Registry information is kept private and can only be accessed for the purpose of identifying potential organ, eye and tissue donors at time of death.
- It’s important to notify your family about your decision to be an organ donor.
How does the donation process work?
- Hospitals are required to alert their federally designated organ procurement organization of all deaths.
- If you die outside of the hospital, your wish to donate may still be honored only if your family immediately notifies the coroner or funeral home.
- Your medical condition at death will decide what organs can be donated.
- When someone dies, the local organ procurement organization, tissue bank or eye bank matches those donor’s organs, eyes and tissues, as specified in the registry, with people waiting for transplants.
- Patients who receive your donation will be matched based upon many factors including blood type, severity of illness and other medical criteria.