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Record 40,000 transplants honors legacy of donors


From the United Network of Organ Sharing – As of Dec. 17, 2021, the U.S. has officially surpassed 40,000 transplants in one year, a historic first for the nation. This is according to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the engine that powers the national organ donation and transplantation system under contract with the federal government.

2020 marked the 10th consecutive record-breaking year for organ donations from deceased donors and the 8th in a row for deceased donor transplants.

“Reaching 40,000 organ transplants in a single year is a testament to the lifesaving work being done day in and day out that makes our donation and transplantation system the highest performing in the world,” said Matthew Cooper, M.D., president of the UNOS Board of Directors. “It is also a testament to the generosity of so many inspiring donors and their courageous families who gave the gift of life.

“This news serves as a reminder that no matter what challenges we face as a nation, our community of doctors, patients, donor families, hospitals, organ procurement professionals, and advocates are dedicated to building on past successes to save even more lives. But there is always more work to do.”

As of today, 106,962 men, women and children are on the waiting list for a transplant, which is at the lowest it has been since 2009. The list topped 124,000 at its height in 2014.

“Every one of us has the potential to save multiple lives by registering to be an organ, tissue and eye donor,” Cooper said.

Matthew Cooper, M.D., FACS, is president of the UNOS Board of Directors, Director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation at MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, and a professor in the department of surgery at Georgetown University School of Medicine.

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