An editorial from the Parkersburg News and Sentinel
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — West Virginia has one of the lowest rates of registered organ donors in the country, yet there are 500 Mountain State residents awaiting an organ transplant that could save their lives right now. According to the Center for Organ Recovery and Education, there are thousands more in our state awaiting healing tissue or corneal transplants.
Meanwhile, an increasing number of the transplants that do take place in West Virginia are the result of organs donated after an overdose death. CORE reports that in 2015 19.6 percent of organ donors died as the result of a drug overdose.
Perhaps one of the reasons for that growing number is that young people tend to be more willing to register as organ donors, but, unfortunately, tend more often to be the victims of drug overdoses.
Nevertheless, CORE officials say an assessment is done on each person who becomes an organ donor, to determine suitability, and there is often no reason a person cannot donate all eight transplantable organs.
There is also no reason there should still be more than 120,000 people across the country on waiting lists for life-saving organs. In West Virginia it is simple to make your intention to become an organ donor known when receiving a new driver’s license. There are other online registries – though, of course, both methods should be backed up by letting family members know about your decision.
For most West Virginia residents, this should be an easy one. Give life and health to someone else; feel good about your decision between now and then. If you have not already done so, register to be an organ or tissue donor, knowing that, someday, you might have one last chance to make a difference.