Governor Signs Organ Donation Awareness Measure

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Michigan motorists will be able to donate money to raise awareness about organ and tissue donation when they get their drivers' licenses.

Governor Jennifer Granholm has signed legislation allowing residents to donate at least $1 to a fund aimed at educating the public about the need for organ donation.

The bill is aimed at getting more people to sign up for the Gift of Life registry. Michigan trails other states in the percentage of residents signed up on the registry. Extended Web Coverage

U.S. Donor Facts

Waiting List

  • Kidney Transplant - 48,639
  • Liver Transplant - 17,413
  • Pancreas Transplant - 1,105
  • Intestine Transplant - 172
  • Heart Transplant - 4,307
  • Lung Transplant - 3,727

Transplants Performed in 1999

  • Kidney Transplants - 12,488
  • Liver Transplants - 4,697
  • Pancreas Transplants - 362
  • Kidney-Pancreas Transplants - 930
  • Intestine Transplants - 70
  • Heart Transplants - 2,182
  • Heart-Lung Transplants - 49
  • Lung Transplants - 877

A person dies every 84 minutes waiting for a transplant.

Organ Donor Card

  • In a major effort to increase organ donation, federal officials are devising a national organ donor card that they hope will make clear potential donors' wishes.

  • The national donor card would represent a more structural change, aimed at helping the transplant coordinators who talk with families about donation.

  • Now, most transplant coordinators will tell family members if their loved one signed a donor card but will leave it to the relatives to decide whether to abide by the deceased's wishes.

  • The new cards would allow coordinators to go a bit further, the official explained, by presuming that someone who has a signed card will become a donor unless coordinators are told otherwise.

  • The cards would include a place for witnesses to sign and for donors to specify which organs they wish to donate and whether they want to include tissue and eyes.

  • The idea is to give the documents more legal weight and to prompt
    families to discuss the issue in a manner worthy of a legal document

  • Federal officials say the cards would supplement, not replace, the donor cards that now exist, and could become a model for states or others that wish to adopt them. They would be handed out at events where donation is promoted through other parts of the initiative.

Source: (Organ Donor Web site) and The Associated Press contributed to this report