SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sierra Donor Services (SDS)* led the nation in the number of organs recovered per donor at 3.78 (the national mean is 3.13 organs per donor) for the first nine months of 2011 (latest statistics released by CMS — Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). SDS, the nonprofit organ/tissue recovery agency serving nearly four million people in Inland Northern California and Northern Nevada, set yet another milestone in 2011. For the first time in its 26-year history, the organization saved 243 lives through organ transplants. This represents a 65 percent increase in organs transplanted over the previous year (158).
Sierra Donor Services, a division of DCI Donor Services, also had a record number of tissue donors in 2011, with 698, a 17 percent increase over 2010 (592). Eye donations also increased to a record 352, a 40 percent rise.
Collaboration with hospital and transplant centers
The dramatic success can be credited to a number of factors, according to the Executive Director of Sierra Donor Services Monica Johnson-Tomanka. “Sierra Donor Services continues to work towards our vision of increased public acceptance of organ and tissue donation and by developing ever stronger partnerships with hospitals and the medical community.”
Effective tool for increasing donations
Sierra Donor Services has also taken a lead role in educating the public at large, and is currently signing up more donors on the Donate Life California Registry than any other area in the state, with a donor designation rate (rate of drivers checking “yes” to donation at DMV) of 30 percent vs. 26.2 percent statewide. Since its inception in April 2005 nearly nine million Californians have signed up to give life.
As Tracy Bryan, board member of Donate Life California and Director of Public Relations for SDS states, “We are now part of a nationwide push to sign up 20 million in 2012 — that’s three million for California. That drive provides real hope to the nearly 21,000 people in our state (1,447 in our area), waiting for a life-saving transplant. Tragically, one third of them will die waiting for a transplant, due to a lack of donors. We urge everyone to be a hero for life and sign up today.”
What can you do?
To get the facts or sign up to become an organ and tissue donor, visit www.sierradonor.org or in California www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org (in Spanish: www.doneVIDAcalifornia.org) and in Nevada www.nvdonor.org. Or sign up to give life through the DMV when you apply for or renew your driver’s license. Say “yes!” to life every time.
*Sierra Donor Services was formerly known as Golden State Donor Services/Sierra Eye and Tissue Donor Services. The new identity, with the tagline “an extraordinary commitment to science, health and hope,” reflects the fact that Sierra Donor Services is a regional nonprofit organ, eye and tissue donor recovery agency providing a full range of services and products to communities in Northern Nevada and inland Northern California. The Sierra Donor Services donor service area includes 11 counties in Northern California (Amador, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba), as well as Santa Rosa, California, and Northern Nevada.
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