Governor Pataki Announces Milestone in Organ Donation

One Million New Yorkers Registered to Give the Gift of Life; More Still Needed

Governor George E. Pataki today marked an historic milestone in the State's continuing efforts to improve the health and well being of its residents by announcing that more than one million New Yorkers have now registered as donors with the New York State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry.

"Over the last several years we have learned that New Yorkers can rise to any challenge, no matter how great," Governor Pataki said. "So it is rewarding, but not surprising to see that so many New Yorkers have once again responded to the needs of their fellow citizens. Still, every day thousands of Americans wait for the life saving help that many times simply is not available. That's why we will continue to encourage every eligible New Yorker to consider becoming an organ donor."

The State's Organ and Tissue Donor Registry was created in June 2000 by Governor Pataki to afford individuals the ability to donate their organs and tissues for medical use. Today's announcement is a result of a coordinated effort by the State and the transplant community to increase public awareness about the critical importance and demand for organ and tissue donation.

There are more than 87,000 people on organ transplant waiting lists in the United States, including more than 8,000 New Yorkers. Additionally, there are tens of thousands in need of tissue transplants. In 2004, there were approximately 14,000 organ donors allowing for more than 27,000 organ transplants to be performed in the United States. Despite this positive development in the organ and tissue transplant arena, the number of patients who have died while waiting for a transplant has tripled during the past decade.

The majority of New Yorkers enroll as a donor by checking the appropriate box on their driver's license or non-driver identification card application or renewal form. This creates a confidential computerized listing that is transferred electronically from the state Department of Motor Vehicles to a secure database maintained by the New York State Department of Health. Registry information can only be accessed at the time of death by federally approved organ donation professionals.

State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H., said, "There is no better way to show our compassion for our fellow man than to become an organ and tissue donor. A single person who registers to become an organ donor can save up to eight lives, while a tissue donor can improve fifty or more lives by restoring eyesight and helping fight infections in burn patients."

State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Raymond P. Martinez said, "In fewer than five years, Governor Pataki's vision for the State's Organ and Tissue Donor Registry has become a life-giving reality with more than one million compassionate and selfless New Yorkers. The DMV looks forward to working with the Governor and the Department of Health to add the next one million New Yorkers to the Registry."

Those who would like to enroll as a donor may do so through the DOH web site at: www.health.ny.gov, as well as through local organ procurement organizations and State DMV sign-up activities.

For more information, individuals may also visit DMV's web site at: www.dmv.ny.gov, call the State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry at 866-NYDONOR (866-693-6667) or contact the appropriate organ procurement organization listed below:

Organ Procurement Organizations:

  • Albany: 1-800-256-7811
  • Buffalo: 1-800-227-4771
  • New York City: 1-800-Gift-4-NY (1-800-443-8469)
  • Rochester/Syracuse: 1-800-810-5494