Working with family members in the aftermath of tragedy, our Sacramento wrongful death law firm knows the emotional turmoil that follows an unexpected and untimely loss. While we can help families recover damages in civil court, money that can be essential to paying final expenses and other financial repercussions, we know that nothing can bring back a lost loved one. However, organ donation can allow families to turn their loss into hope for others.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that there are currently 114,729 people who are waiting for a donated organ. A patient is added to this list approximately every ten minutes. The shortage of donated organs means that an average of 18 people will die every day waiting for an organ to become available. While these statistics are upsetting, there are other numbers that carry much more hope. Every day, on average, 79 people receive a much-needed organ transplant. A single donor can save up to 8 lives.
Some organs can be provided by living donors including a kidney, a portion of a liver (which can regenerate to allow both donor and recipient to have a full-sized organ), and all or a portion of a lung. Living donors must go through both mental and physical examinations to ensure suitability. Most donations, occur after death. Those who want to donate should enroll in a donor registry, a process that is often as easy as checking a box when obtaining or renewing a driver’s license. It is important to also let your family know about your wishes. Since a match is more likely when the donor and recipient have similar ethnic backgrounds, it is vital that a diverse population register as donors.
Raising both awareness of and money for organ donation is important. As reported in The Sacramento Bee, a group of eight Folsom teenagers recently dedicated their participation in a cross-country race to the issue. The team, named Believe and Achieve, finished fifth out of 18 teams participating in the Race Across America. In relay fashion, the team travelled the 3,000 mile route in 6 days, 6 hours, and 31 minutes. All of the other teams, including a group from the Sacramento Police Department which finished sixth, were composed of adults. Participating in the race was the idea of 14 year old Connor Ellison who has fought a rare and debilitating kidney disease. The other members of the team who completed the race were Savannah Ellison (16), Adam Sevy (17), Troy Knox (16), Colin Cook (16), Jasper Hodgson (14), and twins Scot and Alex Benton (17). A ninth team member, Michael Hahn (13), was unable to join the race after breaking his arm during training.
We congratulate the members of Team Believe and Achieve on their accomplishment and commend them for their dedication to this important issue. Organ donation is only one of the many decisions that a family can face in the wake of a tragedy. At The Brod Law Firm, we are sensitive to the difficult, complex emotions that follow a fatal accident. We are available to help loved ones navigate the legal system and obtain the compensation due under California law. Please call to schedule a free consultation with our Sacramento accident attorney to discuss your legal rights.
For more information on organ donation, see OrganDonor.gov, a website run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A further discussion of the myths and facts about donation can also be found on the Mayo Clinic’s webpage.