Expert: Economy impacting organ donations

May 14, 2009 at 11:28 AM

RICHMOND, Va., May 14 (UPI) -- An official with the United Network for Organ Sharing says there has been a drop in organ donations from live and deceased donors amid the U.S. recession.

Michael Shapiro, a United Network board member, said the number of deceased donors involved in transplant procedures decreased in 2008, marking the first time in 20 years such an organ transplant decrease occurred, The Miami Herald said Thursday.

Shapiro said registering for organ transplants has also decreased since the end of 2008, likely as the result of the country's economic woes.

''Certainly if you are going to give your brother a kidney and take six weeks off of work, you might think in this recession whether your employer will think you're one of those folks he could do without,'' the UNOS official suggested.

UNOS data indicate there are nearly 110,000 people seeking organ transplants in the United States. Of those awaiting organ donations, 18 people die on average each day without such procedures, the Herald reported.

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