🔴 There were 283 organ donors in NJ in 2022, an all-time high

🔴 The number of organs transplanted in a single year, 670, also reached an all-time high

🔴 One organ donor can save 8 lives, and one tissue donor can enhance the lives of over 75 people

The NJ Sharing Network has some record-breaking news to share!

The number of organ donors, 283, reached an all-time high in 2022. That’s a 21% increase from 2021, which is amazing said President and CEO, Carolyn Welsh.
Also, the number of organs transplanted in a single year, 670, reached an all-time high in 2022, a 12% increase from the year prior, she added.

What is the breakdown of the organs transplanted?

The all-time high was 350 kidneys that were transplanted, 170 livers, also an all-time high, 71 hearts, 58 lungs, 20 pancreases, and one intestine, Welsh said.

What are the reasons for these all-time highs?

The goal of NJ Sharing Network over the last couple of years was to hire more staff to be able to continue to increase the number of families that the network speaks to about donation and the opportunity to save lives, she said.

“Also, our continuous growth and increase of our multi-cultural outreach. In New Jersey, obviously, diversity is super important. We have a campaign that is called #DonationNeedsDiversity and continuing with that initiative has really put us in a place to save more people, especially New Jerseyans,” Welsh said.

What about eye and tissue donations?

The impact of eye and tissue donations is incredible because they far reach beyond organ donation, Welsh said. About 40,00 eye and tissue grafts enhanced the quality of life for those in need, thanks to more than 550 tissue and eye donors.

Tissue donations include corneas, heart valves, skin grafts, bone grafts, saphenous veins, ligaments, and tendons.

NJ Sharing Network (Photo Credit: NJ Sharing Network)
NJ Sharing Network (Photo Credit: NJ Sharing Network)

What other record breaking news did NJ Sharing Network have?

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, an RWJ Barnabas health facility in New Brunswick, had 33 organ donors in 200 resulting in 102 organs transplanted. Both are new records for the most ever in a single year by any hospital in New Jersey.

The RWJBarnabas Health network of hospitals had 68 organ donors in 2022 resulting in 195 organs transplanted Cooper University Hospital and Jersey Shore University Medical Center also set records with 26 donors recovered at each hospital placing them tied for second in the most donors recovered at a single hospital in a year.

Why is organ donation so important?

The obvious and most common-sense answer is that organ donations save lives. In fact, one organ donor can save eight lives and one tissue donor can enhance the lives of over 75 people.

“But we all know that death is upon us. Whatever that time frame is, we can’t change that. But we can change the ending to someone’s story. We don’t love the fact a lot of these families are faced with tragedy or unexpected death, but what we do is bring light to them at a place of such darkness when they lose someone that they love,” Welsh said.

attachment-NJ Sharing Network Photo

What are some other important facts about organ donation?

Less than 1% of people that die in a hospital can be organ donors, Welsh said.
“I think many people think, well, if I don’t say yes and it’s not the right time for me, someone else can say yes. But, if it were our loved one or ourselves that was waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, we would want everyone to say yes,” Welsh said.

Also, to be an organ donor, there are certain criteria that the potential donor needs to meet to be able to save a life.

Organ donation is someone who is on a ventilator in a critical care unit in a hospital. It’s not just anyone who passes away.

Welsh said it’s people who have a neurological, devastating injury or illness that is not compatible with life.

Currently, there are nearly 4,000 people in New Jersey on the organ transplant waiting list, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.

How can people become organ donors?

To become an organ donor, visit here. People can also go to their local MVC office and sign up to become organ donors or they can put it on their advanced directive and living will.

Talk to your family. It’s uncomfortable to talk about death but talking to loved ones about your intentions to be an organ donor, helps when decisions need to be made, she said.

“We are really saying Jersey generosity. It’s captivating to see that as diverse as we are in New Jersey and all of the things that go on around us, New Jersey residents are saying yes to saving someone else’s life, no matter where they’re from or what they look like. People want to save other people. I think that altruistic gift is hope for the rest of the world,” Welsh said.

The NJ Sharing Network's goal is to reach 300 organ donors and 700 transplants in a single year by 2024.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at jennifer.ursillo@townsquaremedia.com

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