Updated 05/04/2012 08:27 PM
Facebook donor status could be a game changer
Status. Relationship status. And now organ donor status. That's the newest change to Facebook. Our Kat De Maria sat down with a transplant surgeon at Upstate University Hospital, who says it's revolutionary in her field.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- You can share a lot on Facebook. A lot. Things people may not even want to know, like what you're eating for dinner, with pictures, or YouTube videos, especially of cats. But now you can let the world know something very personal and experts say very meaningful.
“The Facebook action is a true we hope game changer," said Dr. Army Friedman, Upstate University Hospital Transplantation Director.
Dr. Amy Friedman is the director of transplantation at Upstate University Hospital, where she says she was performing a kidney transplant Tuesday when she found out that Facebook had added the option to share a person's organ donor status. Friedman and others like her work tirelessly to promote organ donation. But she says Zuckerberg and company have the exposure and resources to do more.
"We are all excited that perhaps for the very first time we now have a real solution to the organ shortage," Friedman said.
Adding your organ donor status on Facebook doesn't make you an organ donor. But there are links through that page to individual states' official registries. And thousands of people have already signed up.
Dr. Friedman says being an organ donor should not be a secret.
"You should indicate what your wish is on Facebook, you should go to the legitimate registry and sign on and that is now legal consent and you should make your wishes known to your family," Friedman said.
Dr. Friedman says wishes to donate could be complicated by the way someone dies. And organs can't go to friends or other specific people. But she says people should still specify what they want to happen with their eyes, organs and tissue.
Friedman said, "By indicating that you're interested in making all of those donations, that leaves us with the options of perhaps saving or improving as many lives as possible."
And that goes a lot further than an inspirational quote or a status can.
Dr. Friedman says an average of 18 people die every day in this country waiting for organ donations.