Nevada Donor Network and the Nevada Department of Public Safety have joined forces to encourage Nevadans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. On National Donor Day, the Nevada Highway Patrol hosted donor registration events in Reno, Las Vegas and Elko, and announced their innovative statewide partnership with Nevada Donor Network.
The Nevada Department of Public Safety and Nevada Donor Network, a non-profit organ and tissue procurement organization, recently began a statewide collaboration to preserve the opportunity for tissue and eye donation for more Nevadans than ever before. This partnership was created to help fill a gap in the donation process.
“We applaud the altruism and service of the entire Nevada Department of Public Safety team,” said Joe Ferreira, President and CEO of Nevada Donor Network. “When death occurs outside of the hospital setting, there is not a requirement to notify an organ procurement organization despite the precious nature of tissue and eye donation for those in need. This means that registered donors and families who may choose donation as a legacy and their loved one’s last heroic act may never be given the chance to give this life-changing gift under these circumstances.”
The Nevada Department of Public Safety and Nevada Highway Patrol began voluntarily notifying Nevada Donor Network about highway fatalities in November 2015 to preserve the wish of registered donors and their families. As a direct result of this initiative, the wishes of several registered donors and families have been honored; which otherwise would not have been possible if not for this collaboration.
“As a first responder, I see injury and death far too often,” said Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Karen Garretson. “I’ve taken an oath to protect and preserve human life, but sometimes circumstances are beyond my control. Nevada Donor Network provides an opportunity for me and other first responders to fulfill our obligations to help people even after we’ve exhausted all lifesaving options.”
Additionally, Nevada Highway Patrol has offered to assist with public education regarding donation. A financial contribution granted by the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine Organ and Tissue Donor Program made it possible to install donor registration kiosks in the lobby areas of the Nevada Highway Patrol’s Reno, Las Vegas and Elko Command Centers. The kiosks will provide another way for people to register to be organ, eye and tissue donors. Brochures, promotional items and iPads for online registration will also be given to Nevada Highway Patrol Public Information Officers, allowing them to help promote donation and assist with donor registrations at community events they already attend.
Nevada’s donor designation rate is one of the lowest in the country, but the need is great. More than 120,000 Americans are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, including 570 Nevadans. Nearly one million tissue transplants take place in this country annually, and 48,000 people receive the gift of sight through cornea donation.
To learn more about organ, eye and tissue donation, or to register as a donor hero, please visit www.nvdonor.org.