Rise in Number of Overdose Deaths Contributes to Major Increase in Organ Donations in 2017
Lifeline Ohio, which is the non-profit organ donation service provider for nearly half of Ohio, as well as two counties in West Virginia, has seen a drastic increase in organ donors and recipients in 2017 from previous years. The reason for record numbers stems from a sad and unfortunate cause: fatal drug overdoses in the state.
According to WLWT5, "Ohio had the nation's second-highest drug-death rate in 2016, with 4,329 fatal overdoses. A quarter of Lifeline's organ donors fatally overdosed last year, a 12 percent increase from 2016." That helped contribute to the 37% increase in the number of organ transplants that occurred.
For organ donations to be possible, the donor must be on a ventilator in a hospital and declared brain dead. Despite misconceptions, drug overdoses do not necessarily affect many organs in the body. While breathing and the heart might stop as a result of an overdose, the liver, pancreas, kidneys, and several other organs can be in perfectly good condition to go to a recipient.
WLWT5 says that "organ donations are possible in only 1 percent of deaths in the U.S. More than 3,000 Ohio residents are currently waiting for a transplant, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing."