These are real people

I was doing some research tonight and found some interesting information that I’d like to share.

According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, which is run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as of tonight, there are a total of 134,161 people registered to receive a transplant in the U.S. 

Of those, 108,393 are waiting for a kidney. The remaining 25,768 people are waiting for another organ like a liver, heart, lung, or pancreas. In Oklahoma, there are 648 people waiting for kidney. 

WaitList_20140614

When you see these statics, many people don’t stop to think that there is a real person behind each of those numbers. I have to admit that I never really gave much thought to these numbers either, but now that we’re waiting to be put on the list, these numbers have a whole new meaning.

Now I think, how many nights have each of these people spent in the hospital? How many of them will be lucky enough to receive an organ? How many of them have children that they are unable to care for because of their illness? How is the families of each of these people coping? How many more people are not on this list because they have no insurance or the financial means to pay for it?

I wonder, do doctors think about this? Do they ever grow attached to a patient they’ve treated or do they detach themselves? Besides organ compatibility, how do they determine who gets the next organ? How do you value the life over another?

It really sucks to think about all of that, but behind each of those numbers, there is a real person with a real story. I only wish that either our health care system or science was good enough to fix them all so no one would have to choose which life is more important.

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