ALBANY, NY (release) —
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed a bill to boost the number of New Yorkers who register for organ and tissue donation.
New York State has one of the lowest organ donor rates in the nation, with only 18 percent of adults enrolled donors, far less than the national average of 43 percent. The legislation, known as "Lauren's Law," adds new language to Department of Motor Vehicle application documents that is designed to encourage additional individuals to enroll with the Donate Life Registry for organ and tissue donation.
"With thousands of New Yorkers on the waiting list for organ and tissue donations, New York State must work harder to enroll our residents in this important life-saving program," Governor Cuomo said. "By adding this new language to DMV application forms, it is our hope that many more New Yorkers sign up to be on the list of those willing to donate an organ or tissue. I commend Senator Carlucci and Assemblyman Ortiz for their hard work on this legislation, and I thank Lauren Shields for her advocacy on this important issue."
Approximately 113,000 people – 9,700 of them New Yorkers – are on the national waiting list for organ transplants. On average, 18 people die every day in the United States from causes that could have been treated with a donated organ. In addition, tissue donated by one person can positively impact the lives of more than 50 other people.
To further encourage people to join the Registry and increase the state's pool of prospective organ and tissue donors, the new law adds the following language to DMV applications for driver licenses and non-driver identification cards: "You must fill out the following section: Would you like to be added to the Donate Life Registry? Check box for 'yes' or 'skip this question.'"
The bill was inspired by Lauren Shields, a 12 year-old girl from Stony Point in Rockland County who received a heart in a transplant operation in 2009.
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