Officials Explain Organ Donation

Every 12 minutes a new name is added to the national transplant waiting list. An average of 18 people will die before organs are available to save them.

"In fact, within a year, 10,000 of the people that are on the list today simply will not be here because of the lack of an organ," said Ron Walterman, a family care specialist with the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency.

"In the United States there are 105,000 people waiting for an organ in which 89,000 of them are waiting for a kidney," Walterman said,

Angela Gamber of Collinsville knows all too well the importance of organ and tissue donations.

"I got sick. I was hours within death. I was hours from dying had I not had my transplant," said Gamber, who received a new liver in time, six months ago.
"I was in nursing school. I was doing my thing, a mom, wife, working. And I had some health problems and ended up at UAB, and within two weeks I was having a transplant."

Although people are being encouraged to donate, they are also being warned to beware of myths.

In fact, even when I registered to be a donor, some relatives said I shouldn't because that could encourage medical personnel not to provide me all the care needed in an emergency situation, so that my organs could go to someone in need. Donation officials say this is nit true.

"Doctors do not want people to die because that's a sign of failure and they want you to be able to successfully walk out the door of that hospital," said Walterman. "So, they're not going to sit back and do nothing. They will do the best they can to keep you alive."

To become a donor you may register when you renew your drivers license or by just going to

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by What? on Apr 28, 2010 at 12:01 PM
    David: Shut up!!!
  • by MJ on Apr 27, 2010 at 12:12 PM
    This topic is uncomfortable because it often means someone has to die for someone else to live. That's understandable. But if someone unfortunately dies in a traffic mishap and has a healthy heart that could help someone with a failing one....why would that be so awful? At least one has the chance to survive and be well. Should we not rejoice in that?
  • by David J Location: Nashville on Apr 27, 2010 at 12:03 PM
    Jay: What seems wrong? If you believe that giving organs first to organ donors will increase the supplly of organs, then it would be cruel to exclude children. It's a sad fact of life that children need transplants and they can often only use organs from other children, due to size constraints.
  • by David J Location: Nashville on Apr 27, 2010 at 04:25 AM
    Malcolm: Many members of the medical community support LifeSharers. In a recent survey, 29% of Americans said they'd be more likely to sign up to donate if it would increse their own chances of getting a transplant if they needed one. What "valid" reasons are there for not donating your organs when you die? The only alternatives to donating your organs are burying them or cremating them. No one is too old or too sick to donate. The people playing God with their organs are the people who won't give but expect to get. That's morally wrong. Donating your organs when you die is a wonderful thing. Donating them to other organ donors is even more wonderful, because it creates an incentive for non-donors to donate. More donors = fewer people dying waiting for transplants. If you want to donate to other donors, please join LifeSharers at
  • by Jay on Apr 26, 2010 at 03:46 AM
    "There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children," That just seems really wrong.
  • by Malcolm Location: Texas on Apr 25, 2010 at 12:53 AM
    David. Then why is it most medical people disapprove of your organisation? It is morally wrong. No one can dictate what someone else does with their organs or blackmail them into signing up or they might die if they dont. I find the whole concept morally wrong and disgusting. There are many people who have very valid reasons for not signing the organ donor register, so you act as God and decide they will die and someone else will get an organ. Education is what is needed. Spend your money and efforts on educating people instead on organ donation instead of blackmailing them.
  • by Tiffany Huff Location: Nashville, Tn on Apr 24, 2010 at 08:13 PM
    Angela you did so well. Praise God for your miracle. Love you, Tiff
  • by David J Location: Nashville TN on Apr 24, 2010 at 10:44 AM
    Your story about Organ Donation highlighted the tragic shortage of human organs for transplant operations. Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren't willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs. Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition. LifeSharers has over 13,700 members at this writing, including 72 members in Mississippi.
  • by Tracy Location: Meridian on Apr 23, 2010 at 05:58 PM
    I have a child who is waiting for a kidney transplant and I was not aware of April being the organ transplany awareness month. I was glad to see someone speaking about the facts because even though you explain all that you can most people still do not understand just how serious it is or can be or even the prognosis of the person receiving the the organ. Thank you for helping me with a few of the questions that are asked of me sooooo many times.
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