Organ Donor Registry sees double-digit increase

New initiatives to encourage more Michigan residents to join Michigan’s Organ Donor Registry are seeing early success, announced Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.

Among the new initiatives is a new policy requiring SOS branch employees to ask customers, time permitting, if they want to sign up on the registry.

“This May, we saw a 20 percent increase in the number of new registrations over May 2010,” Johnson said. “Michigan has a long way to go, but that is so encouraging to us. I want to thank our employees who have really embraced this new policy, which is so critical to saving lives.”

Michigan’s organ donation partners applauded the news.

“With one seemingly simple act, Secretary Johnson has opened the doors for Michigan residents to save and improve countless lives,” said Lisa Langley, executive director of the Michigan Eye-Bank. “The Eye-Bank is dedicated to continuing its partnership with the Secretary of State’s Office. We share a goal to serve the people of Michigan, and are truly grateful for the Secretary of State’s public commitment to eye, organ and tissue donation.”

The Michigan Health & Hospital Association also commended the new initiatives.

“We applaud Secretary Johnson and her office for implementing a new policy that will significantly grow the Michigan Organ Donor Registry,” said MHHA President Spencer Johnson. “The Secretary of State has been a strong partner and supporter of our efforts with Gift of Life Michigan and community hospitals to save and improve the lives of thousands of patients waiting for a life-saving

transplant.

”Other SOS efforts to increase organ donor registrations include new reminders that are being put on some of the department’s most widely used forms and a checklist that greets customers in some of the busiest branches. Johnson also formed an advisory committee that includes physicians, lawmakers and organ donation leaders to come up with creative, cost-effective ways to promote the Organ Donor Registry.

Currently Michigan ranks nearly last in the country, sixth from the bottom, in organ donation registrations. Less than one-third of the state’s adult population – 2,184,331 people – are registered.

Last year in Michigan, 790 organ transplant operations were performed. Each organ donor has the potential to save eight lives and enhance the lives of as many as 50 patients.

Johnson noted that anyone who is interested may also sign up at the Secretary of State website at www.michigan.gov/sos. Those who sign up will receive a free red heart sticker for the front of their license or state ID card.

A newly designed Michigan driver’s license signifies registered donors with a permanent red heart on the front of their license. Signing the back of your driver’s license does not enroll you in the Donor Registry.

For more information about organ donation and the Secretary of State’s Office, visit its website (www.Michigan.gov/sos). Sign up for the official Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/Michsos) and Facebook updates (www.facebook.com/Michigansos).