organ donation

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There continues to be a shortage of organ donors in New York State and central New York. The donor council at Upstate University Hospital is urging the community to learn about the issue, and join the organ donation registry.

New York ranks 49th for registered organ donors

Feb 24, 2015
Ryan Delaney / WRVO

New York state is among the bottom in the nation for residents signed up to be organ donors. Only about a quarter of New Yorkers have consented to being organ donors, according to the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network.

That ranks the state 49th in the country. But it has the third highest need for organs.

The low statistic has prompted a new advocacy campaign, hoping to improve those numbers, called Pass Life On.

A new report recommends that New York simplify its organ donation process, because 18 people die per day in the state awaiting a transplant. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield conducted the study. The company's medical director, Dr. Martin Lustick, says they found that just 22 percent of New Yorkers are registered donors, compared to 48 percent nationally.

"Unlike states that have a high rate of registration, our process for registering is somewhat more cumbersome than the average across the country," Lustick said.

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It’s illegal to buy and sell organs in the United States, but a new study suggests paying people to donate kidneys could address the chronic shortage of available organs and be more cost effective than the current system.

The idea immediately raises the question; is there a way to buy and sell organs ethically?

In upstate New York alone there are more than 1,300 patients on the waitlist for a donated kidney. Some have been on that list for more than four years.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

New York state has one of the lowest organ donation rates in the country, at 20 percent. Donor boosters are trying to get the word out that donating an organ is something most everyone can do to save a life.