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Photo by Laurie Skrivan/AP
New York State ranks third in the nation with the highest need for organ donors and a measure passed by the state Senate would make it easier to register to donate.
By Bill Parry

Legislation that would make it easier for New Yorkers to become organ donors was passed by the state Senate Monday.

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), the author of the bill, said New York state ranks third in the nation with the highest need for donors, and it is second to last in the nation per capita when it comes to registered organ donors.

Donate Life, a nonprofit organ donor registry in the country, pointed out that nearly 9,500 New Yorkers throughout the state are waiting for organ transplants. Over 1,600 New Yorkers have been on a waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant for more than five years. In 2017, more than 2,200 New Yorkers received a life-saving organ transplant.

“Signing up for the organ donation registry is the highest form of solidarity with others,” Peralta said. “One organ donated is one life saved. Unfortunately, far too many New Yorkers are waiting for organs.”

New Yorkers who want to become organ donors currently can only do so by signing up for the Donate Life Registry at the Department of Motor Vehicles, when applying for health coverage through the New York state health exchange, on voter registration forms, and separate stand-alone forms. Under the legislation passed by the Senate, student loan and student aid applications would include the question: “Would you like to be added to the Donate Life Registry? Check box for ‘yes,’ or check the box ‘skip question.’

“Simply put, this proposal will increase the number of New Yorkers who become organ donors by including an option to check if you want to be included in the donate life registry on student loan forms,” Peralta said. “This is a common-sense approach to increasing the number of people who register as organ donors.”

Peralta urged the state Assembly to follow suit and pass his proposal.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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