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The Sum of Your Parts

October 9, 2005

Westchester County has joined the Workplace Partnership for Life, joining corporations, organizations and associations working to create a “donation friendly America.”

As part of the organ donor educational campaign, the county executive is making available information on the New York State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry and the topic of organ donations to all county employees, allowing them to learn about the need for increased donations of organs, eyes, tissues, bone marrow and blood as well as what people need to do if they wish to become registered as an organ donor.

“There is a severe shortage of organs and tissues for transplantations,” stated County Executive Spano. “In addition to those awaiting organ transplants, others await tissue donations for life-saving transplants, as in the case of burn victims and cancer patients, or eye donations for sight-saving transplants.”

“I encourage other local government officials and representatives from Westchester’s business community to also consider partnering with the program,” County Executive Spano continued.

“One person who donates organs can save up to eight lives, while a tissue donor can improve 12 or more lives,” stated Health Commissioner Joshua Lipsman, M.D., M.P.H.

When a person dies, the local organ procurement organization or tissue bank approaches the person’s next of kin and offers the option of donation of organs, tissues and eyes for people waiting for transplants.

Patients who receive organs are identified from the national waiting list based upon many factors, including blood type, severity of illness or other medical criteria.

90,000 people nationwide, including 8,000 New Yorkers, are waiting for transplants. A new name is added to the waiting list nearly every 14 minutes. Tens of thousands more are waiting for tissue transplants. Last year in New York State nearly 1,000 kidneys, livers and hearts were transplanted thanks to hundreds of deceased and living donors. However, with more than 8,000 New Yorkers still on waiting lists, the need for organ donations far exceeds the supply. It is estimated that more than 6,000 people die every year waiting for transplants.

Anyone can decide to become a donor. A person’s medical history or age does not automatically exclude him or her from becoming a donor. To learn more about the Organ and Tissue Donor Registry, contact the New York State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry at 1-877-752-3175 to receive an enrollment card.

For more information, please contact the Westchester County Department of Health at (914) 813-5000 or www.westchestergov.com/health.



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