NORFOLK, NE — 118,000 people are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, 500 of those people live in Nebraska.
Public Relations Coordinator for Nebraska Organ Recovery, Tom Neal says, “That doesn’t sound like too many, that 500, but sadly we lose one a week or 50 each year because we can’t provide a transplant quick enough to save their lives.”
In a recent poll of 600 people in Nebraska, 98 percent are supportive of donating organs, however only 50 percent are registered organ donors. Neal says that even one person can save multiple lives.
“One person can save up to eight lives, and as a tissue donor you can heal over 100 more. This gives family members something to look forward to and the potential meeting of a receipt and that their loved one didn’t die with nothing left.”
Neal says that almost anyone can be an organ donor regardless of age or medical history, though some false myths may discourage potential donors.
“If someone knows I’m registered and go to hospital, the doctors aren’t going to work hard to save me.”
That’s not the case, according to Neal who has heard all types of excuses.
“I’m too old, I’m out of shape, I haven’t taken care of myself. Well that’s ok. Your organs are working for you there is a good chance they will work for someone else.”
When it comes to organ recovery, time is of the essence.
“Once we recover an organ, biology kick in and starts that deterioration process. A heart for instance, we only have four hours outside of the body before it has to be up and running or we can’t use it.”
luckily for Nebraskans, there are two transplant centers in the state, both are in Omaha.