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Study Shows Organ Donations Can't Keep Up With Demand

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Every day 17 Americans die waiting for an organ transplant.

This latest study looks at some of the reasons why more Americans don't agree to be organ donors in the event of their death, and what can be done to try and change that.

Even if organs were transplanted from all the potential brain dead donors, there still would not be enough to meet the need.

That's the conclusion of a study in the latest New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers estimate that there are between 10,000 and 13,000 organ donor candidates nationwide every year.

But with 82,000 people on the waiting list, it's easy to see that the numbers don't add up.

That math is made even harder when you look at how many of those who could donate actually do.

The researchers say 54 percent of families agree to donate their loved ones' organs, but only 42 percent actually become donors.

That's an improvement on past numbers but still suggests we have to find new ways of meeting the demand.

The researchers say that means better training for physicians in asking families for donor consent. But it also means more research into using animal organs as replacement parts for people and better treatments for diseases that result in people ending up on the transplant list in the first place.

Becoming a donor is easy. All you have to do is place the pink dot from a donor card on the front of your drivers license. And carry an organ donor card in your purse or wallet.

At the same time you need to discuss your wishes with your family.

Many hospitals are reluctant to use organs from a potential donor, even when they have signed consent forms, if the family is opposed.

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