7 insights into NYC's organ transplant crisis

New York City has the lowest rate of organ donation in the nation, with about 8,500 residents with organ failure currently waiting for a transplant, according to The New York Times.

Here are the seven things to know:

1. In June, CMS informed LiveOnNY, the city's main organ transplant organization, that it was failing to meet minimum performance standards in organ donation. The agency is threatening to not renew its certification, so another group can take over. LiveOnNY can appeal the decision. However, if the group does lose its certification, it would be the first instance of the federal government shutting down an organ donation organization.

2. Hundreds of individuals die every year due to organ donor delays.

"These deaths are particularly vexing because they are preventable," Aisha Tator, executive director of the New York Alliance for Donation, an advocacy group, told The New York Times. "The mortality rate of five years of dialysis is about 65 percent to 70 percent, the equivalent of brain cancer."

3. New York's organ donations from deceased individuals peaked in 2007 at 322 donations, but has only decreased since then. One donor provides transplants suitable for eight patients. Between 2014-17, LiveOnNY donations fell from 50 percent to 41 percent.

4. Due to long organ donation waiting lists, many New York patients look for transplants out of state, which is an option unavailable for poor patients.

5. Public attitude surveys show most people would consent to donating a loved one's organs, but these individuals may end up declining amid such a time of shock and crisis.

6. The LiveOnNY staff only gets one chance to approach a family about organ donation under federal law. In 2017, around two-thirds of the families LiveOnNY approached declined, amounting to 579 potential donors, which could have provided more than 4,500 available organs.  

7. Data from 2015 suggests around 1.3 million New Yorkers age 36 and younger are registered as donors. Today, nearly 10 million New Yorkers are unregistered.

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