Saturday, March 27, 2021

Iowans are reminded about the importance of being organ & tissue donors

(Radio Iowa) - This is National Donate Life Month and Iowans are being reminded to check the organ donor box when they first get or renew their drivers licenses. Registered Nurse Deb Thielan, at Van Diest Medical Center in Webster City, says this month is designed to educate people about the importance of organ, eye and tissue donations.

"There are 565 Iowans on the list needing organs at this time," Thielan says. "Every 10 minutes, a new person is added to the national organ transplant waiting list." 

From that national waiting list, there are 20 deaths every day. Thielan also notes, some 74-hundred lives are saved across the country every year through what are called "living donations."

"It's an alternative type of donation for individuals waiting for an organ transplant from a deceased donor," Thielan says. "It takes place when a living person donates an organ or part of an organ for transplantation to another person. That's something to think about. It usually involves a single kidney, part of a liver, a lobe of a lung." 

She encourages everyone to sign up to be donors.

"Don't rule yourself out based on your age or what your current medical conditions may be," Thielan says. "At the time of death, a medical assessment is completed and they will review all of the past medical history, factors that led up to the death, and they are the ones who will determine eligibility." 

The Iowa Donor Network partners with more than 120 hospitals and hundreds of E-M-S, medical examiners, hospice, and long-term care facilities to maximize the number of lives saved through organ and tissue donation.

Find out more at iowadonornetwork.org

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