CHICAGO (CBS) — Medical experts said Wednesday that a new Facebook feature allowing users to declare they are organ donors could be a game changer, and could go far in reducing the number of those waiting for transplants.
More than 100,000 people have used the new Facebook feature — which was announced Tuesday — declaring they are donors.
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports some experts said the sheer number of Facebook users – approximately 900 million – could help do away with the list of people waiting for organ transplants.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports
As of Wednesday, there were 114,000 people on the organ transplant waiting list nationwide.
Kevin Lue, of Bartlett, was on the list. He was a triathlete who learned three years ago he needed a new heart.
“It was close. If I hadn’t received a heart, I’m sure probably, maybe a month or two was probably the longest I would have lived after that,” he said. “My heart, basically, at that time had just become scar tissue, and at any given moment it could have just collapsed, or tore open, or anything.”
David Fleming, President and CEO of Donate Life America, said “18 people die every day waiting (for an organ transplant).”
Most people who die waiting for an organ do so because there aren’t enough donors. Lue said, the more people who are on the donor list, the better. He said it’s also important for anyone who signs up to be an organ donor to make sure their family knows of their wishes.
Fleming said states are already seeing more people sign up to be donors, thanks to Facebook’s efforts.
“It’s also really a cultural statement; that an organization that has the reach, the power, and the prestige of a Facebook has adopted organization donation as one of its causes,” Fleming said.
As for Lue, he said he’s running again.
“The heart works fantastic,” he said. “Don’t notice any difference from my original heart when it was working well.”