Blog
Apr 01
Blog: Donate Life

In April, Saratoga Hospital participates in National Donate Life Month and will be flying the Donate Life flag to celebrate the heroic decision to save lives through the gift of donation and to encourage people to register as organ, eye, and tissue donors.

More people are chronically ill and living longer with organ failure such as renal, liver, and heart disease than ever before, and here at Saratoga Hospital, the number of patients needing a transplant has steadily increased every year.

Today, right now, we ask you to consider your role in this lifesaving and healing journey by registering as a donor or considering living donation.

April is National Donate Life MonthThe waiting lists of patients in our state and across the nation in need of a transplant are too long to save them all. The current shortage of donors across the U.S. means 20 people die each day waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Nearly 70% of people nationwide are registered organ donors, however only 42% aged 18 and over are registered organ donors in New York State.

According to hospitalist Mark Weidner, MD, Saratoga Hospital Medical Group - Inpatient Medicine, "Choosing to be an organ donor is, understandably, not an easy decision for some. It requires us to consider our own mortality, and that can be uncomfortable. That's why public education, such as National Donate Life Month, is so important. It gives us an opportunity to teach people about the benefits to recipients and to society as a whole."

Before joining Saratoga Hospital, Dr. Weidner's career was focused on nephrology, including ten years as the medical director of the kidney transplant unit at the University of Vermont Medical Center. He knows families who have not only made the decision to donate life, but have gone on to educate others about donating. Poignant stories such as theirs at educational events help people understand organ donation as a meaningful way to save lives in memory of a loved one. 

Just one organ donor can save up to eight lives and improve the lives of up to 75 people by donating tissues and corneas. You can read about some of the lives saved, and their stories of hope, here.

"Living donations are another option that donors have found very rewarding," Dr. Weidner says. "Often, when interviewed down the road, they say they would do it again if they could."

More than 83% of patients on the transplant waiting list are in need of a kidney. You do not need to be biologically related to the recipient to donate one. Donating one of your kidneys saves the life of the recipient as well as increases the existing supply, saving more lives. Living donation is not covered by your donor registration and must be considered personally and discussed with a transplant center. Find out more here.

Saratoga Hospital does not perform transplants, but we work with hospitals that do. Federal law requires us to discuss organ donations with the families of anyone close to expiration. We have compassionately trained staff who meet with them and are ready to answer any questions. Educational opportunities such as National Donor Month can help prepare families for those conversations someday, should they be necessary.

To register as a donor or for more information about how to get involved, please visit the Center for Donation and Transplant's website at cdtnyvt.org. Find out more about how you can inpsire others to provide hope through organ donor registration and living donation at DonateLife.net. You can also register through NYS Department of Motor Vehicles' organ donation registry


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