LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--OneLegacy, the not-for-profit organ, eye and tissue recovery organization serving seven Southern California counties, announced today an 8% increase in organ donation in 2021, marking the seventh consecutive year of record-setting organ donation and transplantation. The 2021 increase reflects OneLegacy enabling the transplant of 1,688 organs from 591 donors.
Also in 2021, the OneLegacy Eye Bank enabled 1,037 vision-restoring corneal transplants, which represents a 4% increase from 2020. Additionally, more than 155,000 lives were healed through tissue donation and transplantation in the year just concluded.
"Lifesaving transplants would not be possible without generous donors and their families who, in the midst of tragedy, choose to say ‘yes’ to donation,” said OneLegacy CEO Tom Mone.
“Our 2021 increase in life-saving organ recovery did not come easily as the pandemic severely reduced donation at the start of 2021 when hospital ICUs were filled to capacity with COVID-19 patients who constituted 48% of potential donor referrals in January and February,” Mone continued. “For medical safety reasons, these possible donors had to be ruled out as no transplant center knew if they could safely transplant COVID+ organs. At the same time, COVID patient-filled ICU beds often prevented patients with life-threatening injuries from receiving needed ICU services that may have saved their lives while further limiting essential ICU services for organ donors.”
To help hospitals and communities care for COVID patients, OneLegacy transferred a record number of organ and tissue donors to its Transplant Recovery Center in Redlands rather than take up ICU beds, ventilators and essential hospital staff.
The pandemic also challenged OneLegacy as nearly one third of its 300+ staff needed to leave OneLegacy to attend to family and personal concerns, as was common across all of the country. “Our thanks goes out to all of those who were able to remain on the job and to their family members who supported them in the fulfillment of our life-saving mission,” said Mone. “Because of the OneLegacy team’s innovative use of our telemedicine capabilities, collaboration with our hospital and transplant partners, and their willingness to take on all challenges to save one more life, OneLegacy managed to exceed all prior years in organ donors and transplants.
“Achieving these milestones is only possible with the support of our hospital partners who recognize the importance of fulfilling the wishes of donors and enabling donation,” continued Mone. “To our staff members and their families, our hospital partners, donor families, recipients and transplant colleagues, we owe a world of gratitude for their continued caring about our community and our world.”
Despite years of continued increases in donation, Mone says that “there is still work to be done” as the need for life-saving transplants remains critical. While transplant wait lists have started to decline, today nearly 107,000 Americans are still waiting to receive a lifesaving heart, liver, lung, kidney and/or pancreas and 8,400 of them are our friends, neighbors, family here in Southern California. “We can give them a brighter 2022 by choosing to register as a donor at the DMV and at dontelifecalifornia.org, ” said Mone.
OneLegacy is the nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation in seven counties in Southern California: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and Kern. It serves more than 200 hospitals, 10 transplant centers, a diverse population of 20 million donors and families across the region and waiting recipients across the country. Becoming an eye, organ or tissue donor is easy and can be done by registering online at donateLIFEcalifornia.org/OneLegacy or by “checking YES” at your local DMV. For more information, visit OneLegacy.org