THE WAITING LIST AND OTHER CONCERNS
Many waiting transplant recipients erroneously believe that the waiting list is like a ladder - that they are added to the bottom of the list and move up as recipients ahead of them receive their transplants. Not so. The list is in order of matching priority as indicated, according to length of time waiting, blood type, and tissue type. The list is blind to age, sex, and race. The average waiting time is about 1 year, depending on blood type.
The media may help boost the general awareness of the need for organ donation, but they do not enhance a particular patient's chances of receiving an organ. Some waiting transplant recipients publicize their need through radio and television. Others send letters to physicians and transplant centers describing their medical condition. Well-intentioned letters and media coverage have no influence on the distribution of available organs. All matches are made from the UNOS national registry. Preferential treatment does not exist.
Organ Donation Awareness
OPO's (organ procurement centers) communicate the importance of organ donation through a network of volunteers, donor family members, waiting transplant patients and their families. These volunteers participate in a speaker's bureau and help staff booths at health fairs.
Donor Family Identity
The identities of donor families and transplant recipients are kept anonymous and confidential. The donor family that decides to contribute at a time of great personal loss makes a deeply personal and private decision.