Q: How is it that an organ donation can save as many as eight lives?

A: Many people think about heart, liver, lungs or kidneys when they think of organ donation. But being a donor has the potential to save as many as eight lives, while tissue donation can help dozens more.

In an ideal situation, a single organ donor could provide a heart, a liver, two lungs, two kidneys, a pancreas and intestines for transplant. People can survive on one transplanted lung or one transplanted kidney. Livers can also be split among two recipients.

While fewer than 1 percent of hospital deaths are eligible for organ donation — usually the patient must be brain dead — tissue donation is open to nearly everyone. According to DonateLife America, that could help as many 75 individuals through the donation of corneas, tendons, valves, veins, skin and bones.

Hospitals are required to report all deaths to tissue and eye banks. If the tissue donor meets donor eligibility, the registry is checked. Once authorization is verified, or consent is given by the potential donor’s family, a medical team is dispatched by the eye and/or tissue bank for recovery.

To register to be an organ, eye or tissue donor, go to your local DMV office and get a “D” code on your license, permit or identification card. Register online at donatelifenw.org; or request a paper form by calling 800-452-1369.

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