Healthy Living: State brings new organ donation registry online
State officials are hoping they can help turnaround New York's ongoing organ donor shortage by taking the registry online. YNN's Kafi Drexel filed the following report.
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It's not often that New Yorkers are at the bottom of any list. But when it comes to just how many are registered as organ donors compared to the rest of the country we are.
"We have 2.7 million people that are enrolled in the organ donor registry and that may seem like a lot but statewide it is only 18 percent of the total population," said State Department of Health Executive Deputy Commissioner Sue Kelly. "And many other states have over 50 percent. So why would New York lag behind?"
A huge part of the reason is that it hasn't necessarily been easy for people to enroll until now. A new, online registry through New York's recently launched "MyDMV" is replacing an older, mail-in process that many found too complicated to follow through with.
"When you're in an office and let's say you have to wait in line to do your transaction, most people want to get in, their time is precious so they might not take the time to spend to do this. Now they can do it at the convenience of their home," said New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Barbara Fiala.
What seems like a simple change could be a serious force in addressing a critical need.
"It is actually a severe shortage that is causing people to die daily," said New York Organ Donor Network President and CEO Helen Irving. "Eighteen people die each day waiting for an organ transplant here in New York. With 113,000 people on the wait list, 10 percent of those patients are right here in New York."
Marilyn Foster, 43, was one of those patients and says she's alive today because of the registry. The hope is web traffic will drive more people toward registering so we hear about more stories like her's.
"I have two children. At the time I realized I needed a liver it was like the end of the world. I thought I wasn't going to get one. But because I was on the registry I was able to get a liver in less than three months," Foster said.
The DMV along with the New York Organ Donor Network plan on tracking this new online registry at three month intervals just to see how big of a difference it's really making.
For more information on the donor registry or how to enroll, log onto www.dmv.ny.gov or you can simply type "MyDMV" into your web search browser.