Bassett Healthcare Network Partners With New York State Donate Life Registry

Bassett Healthcare Network recently became a proud partner of the New York State Donate Life Registry in the ongoing effort to encourage and register organ, eye and tissue donors. As a result, Donate Life's registration forms are now accessible through Bassett's website, allowing patients, caregivers and community members to sign up with ease.

"This is such a wonderful step for our network and service to our community," says Dr. Chris Kjolhede, a pediatrician and co-director of Bassett's School-Based Health Program. Dr. Kjolhede is a passionate supporter of organ donation and serves on the New York State Transplant Council. "There are reasons why some people can't be an organ donor—for example, certain medical conditions. But everyone who is able should have the information and opportunity to make that decision. People visiting Bassett's website are already thinking about health and making medical decisions. It is a natural place to improve awareness and access."

Across the United States, more than 100,000 people are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, with 8,500 of them right here in New York State. Each year, thousands of people die while waiting for a transplant because no suitable donor can be found for them. But a single organ donor can save eight lives and heal 75 more through tissue and cornea (eye) donation.


The Process

Donate Life's organ donor registry is an invaluable aid to successful organ transplantation—mainly because of the very short time that an organ remains viable. In a matter of hours, medical teams must ascertain the patient's wishes, remove the organs, determine their viability, find recipient matches, transport the organs, and finally perform a difficult and demanding operation. Finding a patient's living will and consulting a patient's health care proxy can use precious time that closes the window of opportunity.

The registry streamlines this process. It allows donors to officially record their wishes in detail—specifying which organs to donate and how they may be used. This information is then available nationwide through the network of state registries—allowing for quick access when the information is needed. Storing the information in an independent database also creates an ethical barrier between those serving a donor and those who will serve a recipient.

"Reality isn't like TV and movie dramas," explains Dr. Kjolhede. "Doctors have no way of knowing someone's registry status. To that point, it is worth noting that Bassett just connects people to the Donate Life Registry—it does not collect or receive access to anyone's registry information."


April is Donate Life Month! Visit Bassett's Organ and Tissue Donor page or the Donate Life page to learn more, register, or log in and update your current registration.