Many families have to watch someone they love grow sick, as they wait for an organ-donor. Thousands of people with kidney disease spend hours at dialysis clinics to have the toxins cleaned out of their blood.
Doctors say many wait nearly four years.
"There's only 15,000 cadaveric kidneys," said Dr. Kenneth Kellner, a nephrologist in Wausau. "In other words, sudden death, young and healthy people in motor vehicle accidents for instance, where they sign the donor card. It's very common for the patient not to survive that wait, unfortunately."
More than 60 people in Wisconsin are on a waiting list for a kidney. In addition to signing the back of a drivers license, people have to make sure their families know they want their organs donated.
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Organ and Tissue Donors
Each day about 63 people receive an organ transplant, but another 16 people on the waiting list die because not enough organs are available.
Talk to your family members about organ and tissue donation so they know your wishes.
Organ Donation Frequently Asked Questions
Who can become a donor
Are there age limits for donors?
How do I express my wishes to become an organ donor?
What can be donated?
Are there any costs to my family for donation?
How are the organ distributed?
Current Waiting List – As of July 19, 2002
Source: http://www.organdonor.gov/ (U.S. Government Organ Donation Web site)