The Facts about Organ and Tissue Donation
with help from the Organ Donor Center of Hawaii

Transplantation Works Did you know that the first organ transplant was performed in 1954 when a kidney was transplanted from one identical twin to the other? Since then, transplantation has progressed from “experimental” to being the standard treatment for many medical conditions such as end-stage renal disease, cardiomyopathy and cirrhosis of the liver.

Hawaii's first transplant was in August 1969 when a 43-year old man with kidney failure received a kidney transplant. Now in our state, kidneys, hearts, liver and pancreases are regularly recovered for lifesaving transplants. Bones can provide grafts for patients facing the loss of a limb. Sight can be restored through corneal transplantation. One donor can help up to 50 people.

Donation helps your family and friends
Eighty percent of the organs recovered in 1998 were transplanted in Hawaii. Unfortunately, the number of available organs/tissue and corneas has not kept up with the need. A new name is added to the national organ waiting list every 13 minutes. In Hawaii, approximately more than 400 people are waiting for organs and approximately 12 will die while waiting this year. There is an urgent need for minorities to donate. When donation from a family member is not an option, the next most likely “match” is from someone of the same racial or ethnic group.

Talking about donation with your family
Surveys show that 93% of families would honor the expressed wishes of a family member if they knew what those wishes were. Most families cite not knowing their loved one's wishes as the reason for declining to donate. The question of donation is asked of each family whose loved one dies while in the hospital. Having discussed donation ahead of time prepares a family for this situation as well as providing the opportunity to carry out the wish of a loved one with certainty. Here in Hawaii, consent has been given 100% of the time when loved ones were informed their family member designated “organ donor” on their driver's license.

Studies show that donation helps families with the healing process:
Priscilla, a donor's wife, recently said, “When my husband Richard passed away, it was such a heart wrenching time for me. Having him become a donor and being able to help someone in desperate need, gave me so much comfort. I felt it was the one thing of merit and value, positive and good, that came from his death.” Stacey, a donor's daughter, said, “It's healing to know that someone else lives because of this tragedy.”

To learn the details about a kidney transplant, visit    “A Kidney Transplant - The Process and Evaluation”

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