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California leads other states in prospective organ donors

SACRAMENTO – More than seven million Californians are registered organ and tissue donors, more than any other state, a donor registry announced this month.

California also has a disproportionate need for donated organs, according to the Donate Life California Organ & Tissue Donor Registry.

Of the more than 107,000 patients currently listed on the National Organ Transplant Waiting List, more than 20,000 live in the state, according to the registry.

On March 19, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state Sen. Elaine Alquist, D-Santa Clara, announced the introduction of SB 1395, a bill to give Californians a choice between registering to be an organ donor or considering at another time via a mandated question through the Department of Motor Vehicles driver license application or renewal, or state identification card application process.

The legislation would also create the nation’s first living donor registry for kidney transplants to better connect those who want to donate with those in need of a transplant.

Schwarzenegger commended those who have registered as donors.

“Being a donor is one of the most selfless and courageous things a human can do, and I am thrilled to know that seven million Californians have signed up to help save lives,” the governor said.

“However, there are thousands waiting in hope of a transplant and we must continue to work to increase the number of donors, and that’s exactly what SB 1395 will do,” he said. “This legislation ... will make it easier for Californians to affirm their preferred organ donor status, thereby helping increase the number of donors. I look forward to the Legislature sending this bill to my desk so I can sign it into law.”

In announcing the seven million figure, California Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, D-Los Angeles, explained that he has a personal interest in the process.

“My mother, before her death, was on kidney dialysis for several years,” he said. “As I sat with her during treatments, I saw people of every age, every background and all walks of life trying to beat the clock and survive long enough to receive an organ transplant.

“To these seven million Californians who have volunteered to save lives as organ and tissue donors, thank you. You are giving hope to every one of those patients,” Perez said.


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