Organ donors only should be eligible for transplants

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Editor, the News-Herald:

Your May 11 story about Brenda Pitt and Brad Barnes highlighted the tragic shortage of human organs for transplant operations. More than half of the people who need an organ transplant in the United States will die before they get one.

Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate about 20,000 transplantable organs every year. Over 6,000 of our neighbors suffer and die needlessly every year as a result.

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There is a simple solution to 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 organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer.

About 70 percent of the organs transplanted in the United States go to people who haven’t agreed to donate their own organs when they die. People who aren’t willing to share the gift of life shouldn’t be eligible for transplants as long as there is a shortage of organs.

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. They do this through a form of directed donation that is legal in all 50 states and under federal law. Anyone can join for free at

LifeSharers has 3,087 members, including 118 members in Virginia.

David J. Undis

Executive Director