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Organ Donor Shortage
Rochester, N.Y. - When it comes to need for organ transplant in our country New York State ranks third, and yet in New York only 1/3 of adults are registered organ donors.
Martin Lustick, M.D., senior vice president and corporate medical director of Blue Cross Blue Shield says behind the numbers there's a list of reasons why people do and don't register.
"I think the biggest issue that we have that distinguishes us in not a positive way is that the process of registration in New York is just not as easy as it is in other states," said Lustick, who also explained a lot of people may think they are registered donors but actually aren't. "One of the quirks in the New York process is that we've been able to register through the DMV when we renew our license for quite a while, but if you did that before 2008 then you're listed in New York as having the intent to register but it's not actually a legal document so it's not binding."
But change to make it easier to register could be on the horizon.
The state has put funding in place to work with a non-profit organization to run the organ donor registry, increase education and simplify registration.
"Having a strong infrastructure to educate folks is really an important part of this because New York State has been doing this through the state all these years with limited funding," explained Lustick. "I think that the funding of the education process really hasn't been there either. That's why I'm really hopeful that once we get this new process started it's going to move things pretty quickly."
Patients like 62-year-old Rodney Bell are hopeful something will increase the number of people on the registry.
"I have quite a bit of equipment that's keeping me alive, and again we're lucky we have this we have this technology and the knowledge today because I wouldn't be here none of us would be here if it wasn't for this," said Bell. But since technology isn't enough anymore, he wait like the nearly 11,000 other people on the recipient list in New York State. "I've had a great life; I'm not ready to go yet."
People in New York can register to be an organ donor when they register to vote or renew a driver's license. They can also enroll on the DMV website: http://www.donatelifeny.org