Los Fresnos News

Valley Baptist Health System Works to Raise Organ Donation Awareness During Donate Life Month

BROWNSVILLE & HARLINGEN – The month of April has served as Donate Life Month for 20 years, and local donation organizations say there’s no better time than the present to register as an organ donor to give the precious gift of life.

While awareness regarding the critical need for organ donation often reaches its annual height during April, the need for organ donation is year-round, said Lydia Touchet, Patient
Safety Officer at Valley Baptist Medical Center-Brownsville.

“Organ donation means life. By donating our organs, we are helping others to live a better quality of life,” Touchet said. “It is helping our families and neighbors to live without having to be hooked up to a dialysis machine for the rest of their lives. It means those in our community may live to see their children and grandchildren. When we donate, we enhance someone else’s life. Our organs allow others to live, our corneas allow others to see better, and our bones and tissues help others to walk and enjoy activities of daily living.”

While Valley Baptist Health System has dedicated itself to raising awareness regarding the importance of organ donation in the Valley, the need for organs remains high both locally and throughout the nation.
According to the Health Resources & Services Administration, more than 116,000 men, women and children are on the national organ transplant list as of today; this is an increase of nearly 10,000 in less than six months. This list continues to grow, as a person is added to the waiting list every nine minutes. For some, help doesn’t come soon enough, with 17 people dying each day while waiting for a transplant. Nearly 12,000 people on the transplant waiting list are from Texas.

Because 95 percent of adults in the United States support organ donation but only 58 percent are signed up as donors, according to the Health Resources & Services

Roy Evans, Chief Quality Officer for Valley Baptist Health System, said that raising awareness regarding the issue, especially within the local community where there are a number of misconceptions surrounding organ donation, is key to chipping away at the staggering need.

“We are excited about the progress en nuestra comunidad, our community, especially in the Rio Grande Valley where the need is the greatest,” said Clara Guerrero, Director of Communications at Texas Organ Sharing Alliance. “When we all come together as a community, we make the most impact and increase awareness about organ donation.

We are thankful for partners like Valley Baptist and its staff for their continued support and collaboration to save lives through the power of organ donation.”

For more information on how to register as an organ donor, visit the Donate Life Texas Registry web site at www.DonateLifeTexas.org.

Here are a few facts regarding organ donation:
• Donation does not disfigure the body or prevent an open casket funeral.
• Organ and tissue donation is considered only after all efforts to save the patient’s
life have been exhausted and death has been legally declared.
• There is no major religion in the U.S. that is opposed to organ and tissue donation.
In fact, many religions endorse organ and tissue donation as an act of charity.
• Few people are too old or too young to donate. Currently there are no age limits for
donors. At the time of your death, medical professionals will determine whether your
organs are transplantable.
• The organ allocation system is blind to wealth, celebrity and social status. Donated
organs are placed in recipients based on best medical match and most critical need.
• No costs directly related to organ or tissue donation are passed on to the donor’s
family or estate.