February 28, 2011
OneLegacy Helped to Save and Heal More Than 65,000 Lives in 2010 Through Organ, Tissue and Eye Donation
Fewer Donors As Traffic Fatalities, Crime Rates Decline
OneLegacy, the non-profit, federally designated organ and tissue recovery organization serving the seven-county greater Los Angeles area, announced the recovery of nearly 2,000 combined organ, tissue and cornea donors in 2010, helping to save and heal more than 65,000 lives in Southern California and nationwide.
While OneLegacy maintained an all-time high with a 67 percent donation rate -- including a 75 percent donation rate in the last six months of the year -- the number of organ donors in OneLegacy's service area declined nine percent to 349. The second consecutive yearly decline is due in large part to the dramatic drop in motor vehicle accidents and homicide rates in Southern California. The California Office of Traffic Safety reported that motor vehicle fatalities declined 10.3 percent in 2009 to their lowest levels in six decades. In addition, homicides in the Southland have dropped by about one-third since 2007. While these are positive developments for the general population, it is disheartening to the 21,000 people on the organ transplant waiting list statewide, whose chances of receiving a life-saving organ are diminished.
"While the number of organ donors and organs transplanted is more than 20 percent higher than in 2000, with people living longer and the number of eligible donors declining year after year, every single donation opportunity is that much more important," said Tom Mone, CEO and executive vice president of OneLegacy.
The decline in donors was also appreciable in the area of tissue, with 1,611 tissue and cornea donors in 2010, down from 2,014 in 2009. However, the decrease was for a very good reason: the supply of tissues for transplant is substantially meeting the need. Thus, patients nationwide can be thankful for tissue donors who provide skin used for burn dressings, bone to repair fractures and prevent amputation, heart valves to repair life-threatening defects, tendons to repair major knee injuries, veins for cardiac bypass surgery, and corneas to end blindness.
"The number of tissue donors has increased dramatically in the past five years while the demand for tissues has declined slightly," Mone noted. "Loss of employment and insurance coverage has reduced the number of elective surgeries. However, the need for donated organs and tissues is ongoing, and we will continue to ensure donor families, transplant recipients and our community as a whole benefit from the gift of organ, eye and tissue donation."
On a positive note, the percentage of individuals and families authorizing organ recovery reached record highs. Among African-Americans, organ donation was authorized for 62 percent of eligible donors. The rates for Caucasians and Hispanics remain high, with 78 and 65 percent, respectively, of eligible donations authorized. The 48 percent consent rate among Asian eligible donors is comparable to previous years.
Notably, the percentage of recovered donors who had previously registered on the Donate Life California Organ & Tissue Donor Registry also continues to grow. In 2010, 63 recovered organ donors (one in five) and 387 recovered tissue donors (one in four) registered as donors prior to death. The state donor registry, which is co-managed by OneLegacy and the state's three other organ recovery agencies, has enrolled nearly eight million designated donors, with 30,000 to 35,000 joining each week through the DMV driver's license/ID card application and renewal process.
OneLegacy is the non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation in the seven-county greater Los Angeles area. With more than 200 hospitals, 12 transplant centers and a diverse population of 19 million, OneLegacy is the largest organ and tissue recovery organization in the world.
Those wishing to make the commitment to donate may register online at www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org or its Spanish-language counterpart, www.doneVIDAcalifornia.org. For more information, call OneLegacy at (800) 786-4077 or visit www.onelegacy.org.
ORGAN DONATION PERFORMANCE, 2006-2010
|Sm Int Tx||7||5||5||9||0|
|Total Organs Tx||1338||1233||1233||1234||1101|
Source: OneLegacy data. Figures for 2010 may vary from UNOS, CMS, and AOPO data due to varying organ count methodologies that result in aggregate variance of 2 to 6 organs.