One Organ Donor Can Save up to Eight Lives
April is National Donate Life Month – An Ideal Opportunity to Consider Being a Donor
“When a patient receives a transplant, it literally can make a life-saving difference,” says registered nurse Marie Fernandez, who serves as a specialty case manager with Health Net of California, Inc. On any given day, Fernandez – along with a team of several other Health Net specialty case managers – is coordinating the care of dozens of members in need of organ transplants.
This volume isn’t surprising, considering that according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), there are currently more than 113,000 people waiting for an organ transplant. With April designated as National Donate Life Month by HHS, Health Net, Inc. (NYSE:HNT) is working to raise awareness regarding the urgent need for organ donations and the benefits of becoming a donor, as well as to clarify misinformation surrounding the subject of organ donation.
On its website, http://www.organdonor.gov/, HHS shares startling statistics regarding the need for, and the benefits of, organ donations, including:
- Someone is added to the transplant waiting list every 10 minutes;
- Each day, an average of 18 people die waiting for a donated organ;
- One organ donor can save up to eight lives;
- In 2011, organ donors made more than 28,000 transplants possible; another one million people received cornea and other tissue transplants that helped them recover from bone damage, spinal injuries, burns, hearing impairment and vision loss; and
- Fully 90 percent of Americans say they support organ donation, but only 30 percent know the essential steps to take to be a donor.
Organ donation misconceptions
The shortage of organs available for transplantation is due, in part, to misconceptions about organ, eye and tissue donation. On its website, http://www.donatelife.net/, Donate Life America, a nonprofit alliance of national organizations and state teams committed to increasing organ, eye and tissue donations, posts the following information:
- Anyone potentially can be a donor regardless of age, race or medical history.
- All major U.S. religions support organ, eye and tissue donation and see it as an act of generosity toward others.
- If you are sick or injured and admitted to a hospital, the number one priority is preserving your life; organ, eye and tissue donation can only be considered once you are deceased.
- Organ, eye and tissue donors can have open-casket funerals.
- There is no cost to the donor – or to his/her family – for organ, eye or tissue donations.
Steps to becoming a donor
For those interested in becoming donors, Donate Life America recommends taking these steps:
- Sign a donor card – available at http://www.donatelife.net/ – or indicate on your driver’s license that you’re an organ donor.
- Put your decision to be a donor in writing.
- Inform family members of your desire to be a donor.
Those who receive organ donations are, understandably, extremely appreciative. Health Net of California’s specialty case manager Marie Fernandez – who coordinates the care of members waiting for transplants – notes that after these patients receive their organ donations they often say to her, ”Thank you, you saved my life.” As rewarding as those words are to hear, Fernandez points out that the organ donor actually most deserves those words of thanks.
About Health Net
Health Net, Inc. is a publicly traded managed care organization that delivers managed health care services through health plans and government-sponsored managed care plans. Its mission is to help people be healthy, secure and comfortable. Health Net, through its subsidiaries, provides and administers health benefits to approximately 6.0 million individuals across the country through group, individual, Medicare (including the Medicare prescription drug benefit commonly referred to as “Part D”), Medicaid, U.S. Department of Defense, including TRICARE, and Veterans Affairs programs. Health Net’s behavioral health services subsidiary, Managed Health Network, Inc., provides behavioral health, substance abuse and employee assistance programs to approximately 5.0 million individuals, including Health Net’s own health plan members. Health Net’s subsidiaries also offer managed health care products related to prescription drugs, and offer managed health care product coordination for multi-region employers and administrative services for medical groups and self-funded benefits programs.
For more information on Health Net, Inc., please visit Health Net’s website at www.healthnet.com.
Medical Advice Disclaimer
The information provided is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for professional medical care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other health provider for any questions you may have regarding your medical condition and follow your health care provider’s instructions.