Jones & Bartlett Learning Medicine Blog

    How Will Facebook's Organ Donor Tool Change Transplants?

    Posted by admin on May 15, 2012 9:56:55 AM

    Earlier this month Facebook announced a new featured that would allow individuals to share their status as an organ donor to their timelines.

    [embed]http://youtu.be/GOC3F3DI1x8[/embed]

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg states that this new tool was inspired by Facebook members who have used the site to solve problems creatively. The CEO hopes this new initiative will spread awareness and encourage people to register as donors.

    "People are using the same social tools that they're using just to keep in touch with people on a day-to-day basis to solve these important social issues," said Zuckerberg. "So, we figured, okay, well, could we do anything that would help people solve other types of issues, like all of the people who need organ donations in the world? And we came up with this pretty simple thing which we're hopeful can help out just in the same way that people have done all these other things."

    According to stats from Donate Life America, a nonprofit group partnering with the social network, there were a total of only 14,144 Organ Donors in 2011.  The evening Facebook launched their new tool, 6,000 people had enrolled through 22 state registries, including:

    Colorado
    Connecticut
    Maine
    Massachusetts
    Michigan
    Nebraska
    Nevada
    New Hampshire
    Rhode Island
    Wyoming

    On an average day, those states see less than 400 registrations combined.

    Surgeons and transplant advocates have heralded the program, calling the initiative, which allows users to share their decision to donate, a "game changer."

    More than 114,000 Americans are currently on waiting lists for transplants of kidneys, livers, hearts and other organs, according to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the organization that runs the nation's transplant system. More than 6,600 died last year waiting for an organ.

    "I think it's possible that we will see an impact over the next couple of years, where we would imagine eliminating the transplant waiting list," Dr. Andrew Cameron, a transplant surgeon at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who helped bring the idea to Facebook, ABC News reports.

    What are your thoughts?  Do you think this new tool and coordinating promotions will continue to boost the number potential donors?  Will this help match live donors with needy recipients?  Will this assist in the controversial “patient’s wishes” dilemma?

    Topics: Facebook, awareness, donate, Donate Life America, Dr. Andrew Cameron, General Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, organ donor, organs, transplants, United Network for Organ Sharing, UNOS, organ donation, Social Media, surgeons

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