According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, more than 670 people in Oregon and southwest Washington are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. Hundreds of our neighbors are in dire need of kidneys and other healthy organs and tissues due to illness. Unfortunately, many of those on the waiting list may never receive their much-needed transplant because there simply aren’t enough donors.
While it is ultimately a very personal decision, serving this need and giving the gift of life to our loved ones, friends and neighbors is why healthcare facilities, patients on the waiting list and their families, and patients with successful transplants encourage healthy individuals to consider a post-life donation.
Saving dozens of lives
Organ donors can have an immeasurable impact on our community. Just one individual can save up to eight lives through organ donation, and enhance more than 100 lives through tissue donation. Additionally, a healthy person can become a “living donor” by donating a kidney, or part of the liver, lung, intestine, blood or bone marrow — an act many donors consider if a loved one is in need.
Talk about your decision
Becoming a donor is not a decision to be taken lightly, and anyone willing to add their name to the registry is encouraged to consult with their family. A person’s wish to become an organ donor is legally binding in Oregon and Washington for those 18 years or older, but when an emergency situation occurs, it takes time for transplant specialists to coordinate and confirm donation status. Many times, a donor’s ID will not be readily available in an operating room. Family members, if prepared, can be advocates to make sure a loved one’s wishes are fulfilled.
Organ donation in the Northwest
Thousands of people in Portland, the state of Oregon and SW Washington have elected to donate their organs and tissue. In 2014:
- 349 people received healthy organs
- 64,761 people were provided healthy tissue
- 1,659 people were gifted corneas
After considering all of the facts, dispelling myths and speaking with your family to inform them of your decision to become a donor, there are three ways to join the Oregon or Washington registry:
- Code your driver’s license/permit/ID card at the Department of Motor Vehicles
- Register online with a transplant center
- Request a downloadable form from Donate Life Northwest (org)
Organ donation and faith
Becoming an organ donor is a very personal decision, but for many people that choice is guided by faith. Many major religions endorse organ donation as a sign of charity and goodwill. If you have spiritual questions about your decision, we suggest speaking with a spiritual leader such as a priest or rabbi.
Doctors and nurses at The Portland Clinic are happy to discuss the facts and myths associated with organ donation with anyone willing to consider this lifesaving decision. For more information about organ donation in Oregon, contact The Portland Clinic at 503-223-3113 or visit ThePortlandClinic.com.