Iowa is now number-one in the country in terms of the percentage of people who sign up to donate their organs when they die to benefit others who need transplants. Paul Sodders, spokesman for the Iowa Donor Network, says the numbers were released a few days ago, putting Iowa on top.
"We have around 66-percent of all adults marking ‘Yes’ to donation on their driver’s license or identification card," Sodders says. "That’s more than any other state in the country, so we’re really, really proud of our efforts in Iowa and proud of how giving Iowans are."
Last year, more than 50 Iowans who died had their organs recovered to benefit others, while more than 450 had tissue recovered. Sodders says it’s important to check that box when you get your license renewed.
"We have a great partnership with the Department of Transportation and when people get their license they’re asked the question about donation which is just so crucial to the process," Sodder says. "We also think it’s just the giving nature of Iowans and we know through our donation numbers that we’re one of the best in the nation."
There are more than 550 people on the waiting list for organ transplants in Iowa at the moment, with more than 450 of them needing kidneys. He says those numbers have grown in recent years.
"We attribute that to several things," Sodders says. "People who need a kidney transplant are actually doing better on dialysis. Dialysis treatments are better and can sustain those patients longer. We also have a new lung program in Iowa so we’ve added some patients to our waiting list with a number of patients who are awaiting a lung transplant at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics."
A recent study found the number of deceased and living organ donors nationwide fell in 2008, but Sodders says Iowa has seen relatively steady increases since 2000, with a 5% rise since then in the number of live donors and a 20% rise in the number of deceased donors. For more information, visit the Iowa Donor Network’s website .