Regarding “One Heart, One Family: Transplant ties patient, donor” (Aug. 19): Your story about Joseph Martinez and Thomas Ortiz highlighted the tragic shortage of human organs for transplant operations.
Over half of the 97,000 Americans on the national transplant waiting list will die before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate about 20,000 transplantable organs every year.
There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage — give organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die.
Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren’t willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.
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Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at www.lifesharers.org or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88.
DAVID J. UNDIS
Executive Director, LifeSharers