A hospital bed rolled in. It was Marvin. His last walk. On rounds we would say, “Twenty-two-year-old with gunshot wound to the head. Waiting for organ donation.”
“Procurement tonight” — a text / I’ve been anxiously awaiting with both excitement and dread, / for on transplant service this means / a life must be lost to save another’s.
Now that I’ve got your attention, no, this article isn’t a guide on how to craft the perfect Tinder profile. I assure you, however, that you’ll have no trouble scoring a date with your knowledge of The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
We stood in the shadows, a staggered line of nurses, students and surgeons in matching blue scrubs and masks. It was the middle of the night. Our tired bodies sagged against the walls, our bloodshot eyes dancing between the clock above and the gasping life below. A young man was dying in the operating room. He lay on the cutting table with his arms splayed wide, like a martyred saint stretched upon the cross.
This beating heart / Gave me a second start / It gave me a reason to be / To be me
Over 120,000 adults and children are waiting for an organ in the United States, and another patient needing an organ is added to the transplant list every ten minutes. On average, about 20 Americans die every day from the lack of available organs for transplant. Specific to kidney transplant, it has been estimated that by 2015, over 700,000 Americans will have end stage renal disease and over 26 million will have some form of chronic kidney disease.
Organ shortage is a serious problem in the United States. About 20,000 organ transplants occur every year in the U.S., and 116,689 Americans are currently on a waiting list for an organ, with kidneys being the most needed. The obesity epidemic is contributing to the shortage; a quarter of prospective donors are too obese to donate their kidneys. People typically wait 3-5 years for an organ, and thousands die every year (an average of 18 …