May 21, 2024

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State Reaches Donor Record But More Than 1,000 Await Transplants

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Overview: Organ donations on the rise

Organ donations from deceased state residents reached a new high in 2023 but more than 1,000 people continue to await life-saving transplants, experts say.

Raising a Donate Life flag for National Donate Life Month
Raising a Donate Life flag for National Donate Life Month in April are (L-to-R): Zainab Cole, RN, director, L+M Hospital, Critical Care Unit; Stephanie Ellis, RN, nurse manager, L+M Hospital, Critical Care Unit; Ken Donovan, MD, Chair L+M Hospital Department of Medicine; and Jennifer Collins, RN, L+M Hospital, Case Manager, Palliative Care. April is National Donate Life Month to remember all those who donated and those who received organs, eyes, and tissue, giving them a second chance at life. Credit: Contributed photo / L+M Hospital

NEW LONDON, CT – Organ donations from deceased state residents reached a new high in 2023, but more than 1,000 people continue to await life-saving transplants in Connecticut, experts say.

Last year, 130 individuals who died donated organs, eyes, or tissue, up from 116 in 2022, according to the latest figures from the Donate Life organization. The number has been steadily climbing for the past 5 years.

April is “National Donate Life Month” celebrating those living and deceased who made the decision to donate. There are about 100,000 people across the country who are on the national transplant waiting list.

At Yale New Haven Health’s Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London, hospital employees recently raised a Donate Life flag and held a moment of silence to honor and remember all those who have helped others to live through organ donation.

In 2023, Yale New Haven Hospital undertook 186 organ transplants with 155 of those involving a liver or a kidney, and 46 coming from living donors.

Nationally in 2023, more than 46,000 transplants were performed and more than 6,900 of those came from a living organ donor, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.

Sean Fitzpatrick, chief public affairs officer for New England Donor Services, said his organization has been able to increase donations and transplants by expanding the pool of potential donors.

“Whereas in previous years, organs from older and more medically complex deceased donors may not be accepted by transplant centers, NEDS’ new techniques for medical management of the deceased donors and the use of profusion devices for the preservation and improvement of organs after surgical removal from the donor means more donors can be considered for donation and more organs successfully transplanted,” he said.

Fitzpatrick said 1,061 individuals are on the donor waiting list waiting for a transplant at the state’s two transplant centers – Yale New Haven Hospital and Hartford Hospital.

All hospitals in Connecticut can collect organs, eyes, and tissue, he said.

“As many as 17 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant,” he said. “Becoming an organ donor is easy and a single organ, eye, and tissue donor can help save or heal more than 75 lives.”

Individuals can register to become a donor at the Donate Life website or by checking “yes” to organ donation on the driver’s license renewal form or when first getting a license.


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