ALBANY, N.Y., April 6 (UPI) -- Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of TV's "The Dr. Oz Show," has joined a campaign to persuade more people to become organ donors to save "countless lives."
Oz, a New York heat surgeon, says every 13 hours a New Yorker dies waiting for an organ transplant. He said he is participating in the city's "Go the Extra Mile, Become an Organ Donor" campaign during National Donate Life month in April, to let people know one donor can save as many as eight lives and improve the lives of up to 50 people by donating organs, tissues and corneas, Oz said.
"Throughout my years as a surgeon in New York, I've performed hundreds of life-saving heart transplants," Oz said in a statement. "But I've also seen countless lives lost because we couldn't get the organs needed to perform these miraculous operations."
Anyone age 18 and older can sign up to be a potential organ donor, regardless of medical history.
"Being an organ donor does not interfere with medical care or funeral preparations, and there is no cost to the donor or the donor's family," state Department of Motor Vehicles officials said. "New Yorkers can sign up to be organ donors quickly and conveniently online through MyDMV, in person at any DMV office, or by filling out and mailing a donor form to the Department of Health."
Nearly 10,000 New Yorkers are waiting for a transplant but only 20 percent of New Yorkers age 18 and older have enrolled in the state's Donate Life Registry, compared to the nationwide average of 42 percent.
The public service announcements -- online at http://www.dmv.ny.gov/mydmv/organ-pop.htm -- are funded by donations and produced by Oz, who donated his time and the services of his production company.