Nashville, TN – The number of registered organ and tissue donors in Tennessee has reached the 1.5 million mark, it was announced today by the Donate Life Tennessee Organ & Tissue Donor Registry and the Tennessee Department of Safety (TDOS).
“It was only three years ago that Tennessee Department of Safety and Donate Life Tennessee teamed up for this effort by making donor registration available to every Tennessean who renews their driver license or I.D. card. Our team effort has been a great success in reaching this milestone, but there are millions more out there who still need to check “Yes!” and potentially save someone’s life,” stated Tennessee Department of Safety Driver Services Director Michael Hogan.
This is a significant milestone in the history of the Registry and indicates Tennesseans understand the critical need for organ and tissue donors. Those who have registered provide hope to those currently awaiting a transplant. While this number is significant, Donate Life Tennessee continues to educate and encourage more Tennesseans to register so the greatest number of lives can be saved.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Department of Safety for their tireless support of the Donor Registry,” said Lisa Clark, Department of Safety Liaison with Tennessee Donor Services “Over 98 percent of people who register to donate do it at Department of Safety Driver Service Centers. Because the agency is committed to asking customers about registering as donors, people are saying ‘Yes’ and lives are being saved.”
The number of registered donors is especially important in the face of the need for donated organs in Tennessee. Of the more than 109,000 patients currently registered on the national organ transplant waiting list, over 2,400 are in Tennessee.
Although Donate Life Tennessee has steadily increased the number of registered donors at a rate of 14 percent per year, a relatively low percentage of Tennesseans choose to do so. In 2010, only 33 percent of TDOS customers applying for or renewing their drivers’ licenses and ID cards checked ‘Yes’ on their forms to register as donors, ranking in the bottom third in the nation. In addition, of the 4 million adults in Tennessee, only 27 percent have signed up to be organ and tissue donors. The goal is to have 50 percent of licensed drivers in Tennessee as registered donors.
Despite the state’s lower donor registration rates, the Donate Life Tennessee Registry plays an increasingly essential role in saving and healing Tennesseans in need of organ and tissue transplants. Since the registry was introduced in 2008, donors who had registered prior to death have saved and healed the lives of over 23,000 patients through organ, eye and tissue donation. In 2009 alone, 69 registered organ donors and 327 registered eye and tissue donors gave the gift of life. A listing of the number of Americans and Tennesseans waiting for a life saving transplant is provided on a separate page below.
Tennesseans can register to be a donor at any TDOS Driver License Center or with Donate Life Tennessee at www.tndonorregistry.org. For those who have previously registered as a donor through TDOS, Donate Life Tennessee will help them fulfill their desire to donate by adding them to the Tennessee Organ and Tissue Donor Registry. State law requires that every time an applicant renews a driver license, he or she must mark YES on the application to be a registered donor.
Donate Life Tennessee is the nonprofit, state-authorized organ and tissue donor registry which records the decision to donate in a secure, confidential database that is searched by authorized organ and tissue recovery personnel at the time of an actual donation opportunity. It is administered by Tennessee’s two organ recovery organizations: Tennessee Donor Services and Mid-South Transplant Foundation. The Donate Life Registry assures that all personal information is kept confidential and stored in a secure database, accessible only to authorized OPO personnel.
For more information or to register as a donor, please visit www.TnDonorRegistry.org.
For further information contact:
Senior Public Relations
Donate Life Tennessee
Tennessee Donor Services
Manager, Outreach Community Svcs
Mid-South Transplant Foundation, Inc.
About The Tennessee Department of Safety
The Tennessee Department of Safety’s mission is (www.TN.Gov/safety) to ensure the safety and general welfare of the public. The department encompasses the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Office of Homeland Security and Driver License Services. General areas of responsibility include law enforcement, safety education, motorist services and terrorism prevention.