Letter: Louisianians tops in organ donation

So often we find ourselves on or near the bottom of health rankings, but today we celebrate being at the top of a very important list that affects many people in our state and nation — organ donation.

Donate Life Louisiana’s state team recently received a silver medal from Donate Life America in recognition of our achievements in increasing the number of registered organ, eye and tissue donors who save and heal lives. Several years ago, the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency and Legacy Donor Foundation partnered with the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Louisiana Hospital Association, the National Kidney Foundation and several eye banks and transplant hospitals to increase the donor registry.

This team was recognized this year for having 58 percent of all state residents age 18 and older registered as donors; 52 percent of organ and tissue donors were registered at their time of death; and a 56 percent Donor Designation rate was achieved at the Office of Motor Vehicles.

All members of the team have been using their reach and resources to make a difference. The LHA and hospitals throughout the state launched the Donate Life Louisiana Hospital Campaign in 2008 to help educate and register hospital employees and people in the community. The campaign was so successful that it is now the national model for hospital donor registry drives.

Since our state team formed in 2006, we have worked tirelessly to add over 650,000 new individuals to the registry. We should be proud of our state’s team for this accomplishment, since one organ donor can save up to nine lives and enhance the lives of 50 more through tissue donation. If you are not already a donor, I encourage you to visit http://www.donatelifela.org and sign up.

John Matessino, president and CEO

Louisiana Hospital Association

Baton Rouge