Guest Blog by Aline Holmes, RN, director of the NJHA Institute for Quality and Patient Safety.
I’ve been fortunate to have served as a nurse for more than 40 years. I’ve witnessed a long list of medical advances over the years – not the least of which is the lifesaving possibilities of organ transplants. I’ve seen patients with just days to live transformed into vibrant, healthy individuals, thanks to the tremendous gift of organ donation.
There currently are about 110,000 men, women and children across the United States awaiting a lifesaving transplant. 5,000 of them are our neighbors right here in New Jersey. A new name is added to the national waiting list every 12 minutes. And sadly, an average of 18 people die in our country every day, still waiting for a transplant.
Despite New Jersey’s rising national reputation in delivering quality healthcare, the Garden State has fallen behind in organ donation. Our state ranks 41st out of the 50 states, with only 31 percent of eligible residents registered as organ and tissue donors. New Jersey is working hard to reach the national goal of 50 percent registered donors, and I applaud the state’s hospitals and our two organ procurement organizations for their efforts to boost organ donation.
But the biggest heroes in organ donation are the selfless individuals who add their names to the organ donor registry. April is the national observance of Donate Life Month. I urge all of you to register as an organ donor. You can join New Jersey’s list of registered organ donors the next time you renew your driver’s license. Or, better yet, act today through the state’s Motor Vehicle Commission, accessible via the Web site www.donatelifeNJ.org.