Room to improve

If you believe what the pundits and professional survey takers tell us, New York State does a lot of things really well.

We are ranked No. 1 in the nation when it comes to health care initiatives, according to the United Health Foundation.

When it comes to math and science education, the Empire State finishes in fifth place and earns a score that is well above average from the Statistical Research Center at the American Institute of Physics.

And, not surprisingly given our preventative health care ranking, New Yorkers have the sixth- longest life expectancy of residents in all 50 states.

But before the self-congratulations begin, there is at least one area where the state stands in need of much improvement.

New York ranks 50th out of 50 in the United States—the very bottom of the heap—when it comes to the percentage of residents who are registered organ donors.

According to Live On New York, the country’s second-largest organ procurement non-profit group, every 18 hours someone in New York State dies waiting to receive an organ for a translplant.

Today, more than 10,000 individuals are on the donor waiting list.

One organ donor can save up to eight lives.

A single tissue donor can help as many as 50 people improve their lives by giving skin tissue, corneas, bones and heart valves.

In a move aimed at enouraging more New Yorkers to become organ donors, Sen. Jose Peralta joined forces with Live On New York and helped pass legislation to create a statewide annual organ-enrollment day.

On Tuesday, Live On New York sent volunteers and employees to hospitals around the state, including Jamaica and Elmhurst here in Queens, to register new organ donors.

The problem, says Dr. Amy Friedman from Live On New York, is a lack of awareness of the need for donors as well as a lack of knowledge about how someone can become a donor.

This program definitely makes people think about becoming organ donors. Having one day set aside to talk about all the good donations can do and then help sign up individuals to become donors can only ensure more lives are saved in the end.

And really, what New Yorker does not want to make sure the state takes its place near the top of yet another best-of list rather than remaining stuck in the basement?