Health & Fitness

The docs: Organ donations are on the rise in the U.S.

Nurse Jackie (played by Edie Falco), the married mother of two, was shagging her hospital’s pharmacologist, and fans suspected it was just to support her oxycodone habit. So when Jackie forged a document to make a newly deceased patient an organ donor, many viewers saw this as the character’s struggle to let her inner goodness win out over, well, her not-so-goodness.

In the real world, at least, that goodness -- organ donation -- is winning. From 2005 to 2012, the percentage of people who checked the organ donor box on the back of their driver’s license went from around 50 percent to 60 percent. And in 2015 the U.S. hosted the world’s largest living donor kidney transplant chain: 70! (A kidney transplant chain usually starts when a person wishes to donate a kidney to a loved one but isn’t a match. That person agrees to donate a kidney to a general pool so that their loved one can receive a kidney from that same pool.)

But we can do more. Currently 121,445 people in the U.S. are waiting for an organ. And although 79 people a day do receive a transplant, at least 20 people die waiting.

By donating your organs, you’re not saving just a life or many lives, you could be saving someone’s quality of life, too. Although internal organs can’t be stored, skin, corneas, the middle ear, heart valves, bone, veins, cartilage, tendons and ligaments can. And they can restore someone’s hearing, vision, appearance and mobility. So become a donor at www.organdonor.gov today, and make someone’s tomorrow.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

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