With permission from our Board member George F. Bergstrom, FACHE, Vice President of Member Relations at the American Hospital Association (AHA), we are sharing an article written by Dr. Perlin which appeared in the April 3, 2015 edition of AHA News. Dr. Perlin is the 2015 Chairman of the AHA Board of Trustees and has professional experience in caring for transplant patients. He is the Chief Medical Officer of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), and President of its clinical services group.
Support National Donate Life Month by giving hope to those who are still waiting
April is National Donate Life Month, when we encourage everyone to consider registering as organ, eye and tissue donors. Patients today benefit from recent advances in transplant medicine and have options to care that did not exist a decade ago. But without donors, little can be done for thousands of patients whose hope lies in the generosity of others whom they may never meet. Nearly 124,000 people are waiting for lifesaving organ transplants in the United States – more than enough people to fill a large football stadium twice over. Thousands more need tissue or cornea transplants.
Having had the experience of caring for transplant patients, and having also had the experience of asking patients and family members about organ and tissue donations, someone saying yes to giving the gift of life was something I hoped for every day. It was difficult to see patients who had been active and well their entire lives be faced with the devastating effects of a liver or kidney disease. Waiting for an organ donation is more difficult than anyone can imagine.
Many are saving and enhancing lives through donations. In 2014, more than 14,000 donors provided the gift of life to more than 28,000 transplant recipients. Even with the tremendous generosity of these donors and their families, nearly 7,000 people on the waiting list died last year because the demand continues to outpace supply.
That disturbing fact explains why the AHA every year joins Donate Life America and others in supporting National Donate Life Month. I encourage all of you to join the AHA in supporting this nationwide campaign.