April is National Donate Life Month, a month set aside to raise awareness about the need for organ donors. Surely no one is more acutely aware of the need for organ donation than physicians and the patients awaiting transplants. These states have the greatest need, on a per capita basis.
April is National Donate Life Month, a month set aside to raise awareness about the need for organ donors. Surely no one is more acutely aware of the need for organ donation than physicians and the patients awaiting transplants.
According to the federal Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, some 123,193 patients were organ donation candidates as of Friday. A candidate is defined in this instance as someone awaiting a transplanted organ or organs. Thus, the list counts people in need of multiple organs as one candidate.
While well over 100,000 patients need new organs, only 29,531 transplants were performed in the US last year, a number that has held relatively stable for the past decade.
The vast majority of candidates on the waiting list (101,662) are in need of a kidney. Liver transplant candidates come next, with 15,294 on the list awaiting liver donations.
OPTN has a large database of easily sortable data. We decided to use the list to ascertain which states had the greatest need on a per capita basis. The 10 states with the most organ donation candidates per capita are listed below, along with the number of transplants performed in that state last year, and breakouts of the need for kidney and liver donations in the state.
The candidate data are current as of last week. The transplant numbers are from 2014. The population data used to calculate the per capita rates is based on the July 2014 population estimates of the US Census Bureau.
Note: Data were not available for 4 states: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Data were available for DC, but the district is not included in this list. Were DC included, it would have risen to the top of the list, as the city has 1 person on the candidate registry for every 436 residents.
1 per 2,329 residents
Total Candidates: 11,574
Transplants Performed in 2014: 2,626
Kidney Candidates Waiting: 9,472
Liver Candidates Waiting: 1,634
1 per 2,107 residents
Total Candidates: 3,201
Transplants Performed in 2014: 796
Kidney Candidates Waiting: 2,167
Liver Candidates Waiting: 685
1 per 1,994 residents
Total Candidates: 5,064
Transplants Performed in 2014: 817
Kidney Candidates Waiting: 4,639
Liver Candidates Waiting: 375
1 per 1,980 residents
Total Candidates: 2,705
Transplants Performed in 2014: 421
Kidney Candidates Waiting: 1,920
Liver Candidates Waiting: 716
6. New York
1 per 1,932 residents
Total Candidates: 10,218
Transplants Performed in 2014: 1,826
Kidney Candidates Waiting: 8,477
Liver Candidates Waiting: 1,217
1 per 1,761 residents
Total Candidates: 22,035
Transplants Performed in 2014: 3,454
Kidney Candidates Waiting: 18,637
Liver Candidates Waiting: 2,900
1 per 1,701 residents
Total Candidates: 3,208
Transplants Performed in 2014: 746
Kidney Candidates Waiting: 2,371
Liver Candidates Waiting: 513
1 per 1,658 residents
Total Candidates: 3,604
Transplants Performed in 2014: 805
Kidney Candidates Waiting: 2,720
Liver Candidates Waiting: 817
1 per 1,505 residents
Total Candidates: 8,495
Transplants Performed in 2014: 1,803
Kidney Candidates Waiting: 6,768
Liver Candidates Waiting: 1,195
1 per 1,315 residents
Total Candidates: 3,689
Transplants Performed in 2014: 401
Kidney Candidates Waiting: 3,485
Liver Candidates Waiting: 132