Current Data & Basics in California
- There are currently more than 110,000 people on the UNOS National Organ Transplant Waiting List. More than 21,000, or 20% of the national total, are listed at California transplant centers.
- Of those waiting, one in three will die due to a shortage of organs.
- Nationwide, approximately 18 people die each day awaiting life-saving organ transplants, and a new name is added to the national waiting list every 13 minutes.
- One organ donor can save up to eight lives and one tissue donor can improve the lives of up to 50 others.
- Nationwide, approximately 70% of the 13,500 cases each year where patients are pronounced brain dead are medically suitable to be organ donors. The donor is indentified via the registry or family authorized donation.
- Nationwide, minorities represent 54% of organ transplant candidates and more than 60% of those awaiting kidney transplants.
- In California, Latinos make up 35% of those waiting for life-saving transplants, Asians/Pacific Islanders comprise 16%, and African Americans another 14%.
- Nearly 75% of those waiting for kidney transplants are people of color.
- Nationwide, African Americans comprise 12% of the total population, but represent 35% of kidney transplant candidates. This high proportion is due to a higher incidence of diabetes and hypertension.
- Organs that may be donated (in order of frequency transplanted) include the kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, pancreas and small intestine.
- Tissues that may be donated include corneas/eyes, heart valves, skin, bone, tendons, cartilage and veins.
- In about 90% of instances, only patients who experience brain death – a medically, legally and morally accepted determination of death resulting from the complete lack of blood flow to the brain – may donate vital organs. This represents about 1% of all deaths in hospitals annually. Under rare and controlled circumstances involving major neurological trauma, organs may be donated after cardiac death.