More Hoosiers say ‘yes’ to organ donation in 2023
INDIANAPOLIS – Support for lifesaving organ donation throughout Indiana rose again to record heights in 2023 as Indiana Donor Network, the federally designated organ recovery organization that coordinates organ, tissue and cornea donation in Indiana and transplantation throughout the U.S., transplanted 1,134 donated organs, saving 989 lives.
The milestone is a new high for transplanted organ donations in the 37-year history of Indiana Donor Network and represents a 17% increase in annual transplants compared to 2022.
Organ donation in Indiana has trended upward since 2016, when 606 lifesaving organs were transplanted. The number of organ transplants in the state has risen each year – 2017 (620), 2018 (634), 2019 (665), 2020 (857), 2021 (932) and 2022 (972).
“The selflessness and generosity of organ and tissue donors and their families gives patients in need of a transplant a second chance at life,” said Indiana Donor Network President and CEO Kellie Tremain. “This is our eighth consecutive year of executing high performance and unwavering commitment to donors and transplant recipients. We are dedicated to saving lives through carefully caring for our donors’ gifts and honoring their decisions by ensuring the needs of patients awaiting transplant are met.”
Innovation, utilization of new technology and personnel growth were key contributors to the high performance Indiana Donor Network achieved in 2023.
Last year, Indiana Donor Network utilized 12 kidney perfusion pumps for 501 transplant surgeries. Kidney perfusion transporters, a relatively new technology utilized in operating rooms during organ recovery and during transport of a donated kidney to an awaiting transplant center, keep donated kidneys functioning outside the body, allowing the organ’s temperature and vascular performance to be monitored and increasing a kidney’s viability for successful transplant.
Indiana Donor Network also began utilizing liver perfusion transporters in 2023 as part of an FDA-authorized continued access study with four Midwest transplant centers. Indiana Donor Network first utilized liver perfusion technology in a transplant coordination in November last year at University of Cincinnati Medical Center and now awaits FDA approval for broad clinical use of the technology throughout the U.S. This innovation is expected to further increase the number of organs transplanted by Indiana Donor Network.
“We as an organization emphasize innovation and implementing new technology to ensure that more donated organs are available for those in need of lifesaving transplants,” Tremain said. “Organ perfusion technology has helped us significantly expand our donor base and coordinate more transplants for more patients.”
In 2023, 1,393 tissue and cornea donors resulted in 16,154 tissues recovered to help save and heal lives, including 181 heart valves, a 28% increase from 2022 and another all-time record for the organization; tissue grafts from 1,158 skin donors; and 494 corneas.
Included in the total tissues recovered were more than 12,000 bone and connective tissues, including ligaments and tendons, from donors, a 34% increase from 2022 and eclipsing the previous all-time mark the organization achieved in 2019.
“What makes our tissue milestones even more remarkable is our unwavering commitment to quality,” Tremain said. “Despite handling a huge number of recoveries, we have maintained a remarkable 0.16% recovery error rate for tissue donations. This is no small feat. It is a direct result of our team’s meticulous attention to detail, steadfast support for one another and unyielding dedication to caring for our donors and their gifts.”
Other major milestones achieved by Indiana Donor Network in 2023:
- Provided programs, grief, and counseling services and support to 2,725 family members of organ and tissue donors.
- Signed up more than 925,000 Indiana residents to become organ and tissue donors; today, more than 4.4 million Hoosiers have signed up to become organ donors.
- Managed 345 dedicated advocates who volunteered more than 16,000 hours.
- Led 1,018 school and community presentations and activations, reaching more than 278,882 Hoosiers throughout the state.
- Generated $179,000 in net proceeds from four fundraising events to support Indiana Donor Network Foundation and its mission to provide financial assistance and support for organ transplant recipients and donor families.
- Hired 107 new team members for a total of 327, creating its largest staff since the organization was founded in 1987.
Nationally, more than 103,000 people are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, including more than 1,200 Hoosiers. Every day, 17 people die waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant while every 10 minutes, another person is added to the transplant waiting list.
Despite age or medical history, anyone can sign up to be an organ donor. There are four ways that Hoosiers can sign up to become an organ donor:
- They can say “yes” when conducting business at their local Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch.
- They can sign up online at DonateLifeIndiana.org.
- They can sign up when they apply online for a hunting, fishing or trapping license through the state Department of Natural Resources.
- They can say “yes” through the Health app on their iPhone or iPad.
One organ donor can save eight lives. One tissue donor can heal more than 75 others. One cornea donor can restore sight to two people.
About Indiana Donor Network
The decision to become an organ, tissue and eye donor is a decision to give the gift of life. Indiana Donor Network serves as the vital link between donors and patients waiting for lifesaving organ transplants, healing tissue and corneas to restore sight. The organization is a federally designated organ recovery organization and accredited tissue bank serving 85 of Indiana’s 92 counties. Its team of more than 325 dedicated professionals is committed to saving and healing lives through donation and transplantation, championing the cause through education and outreach and supporting donor families in their time of need. For more or to sign up as a donor, visit Indiana Donor Network online.
About Indiana Donor Network Foundation
As a subsidiary of Indiana Donor Network, the organ recovery organization for 85 of Indiana’s 92 counties, Indiana Donor Network Foundation enhances the lives of those touched by donation through education, innovation, caring and support. The Foundation raises funds through individual contributions, special events and sponsorships to support transplant recipients and the families of donor heroes. For more information, visit Indiana Donor Network Foundation online.
Indiana Donor Network® and the Indiana Donor Network Foundation® are federally registered trademarks.
About Donate Life Indiana
Since 1998, Donate Life Indiana has been the state-authorized nonprofit organization responsible for managing the Indiana donor registry. Its mission is to save lives by creating opportunities for all Indiana citizens to sign up on the organization’s official state registry while striving to raise awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation through public education. For more, visit Donate Life Indiana online.
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