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Pig heart transplant underscores need for human donors | READER COMMENTARY

Heart transplant: Dr. Walter Dembitsky places both hearts on the table before the donor heart on right is surgically implanted into the patient. File. (Nevan C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune).
Heart transplant: Dr. Walter Dembitsky places both hearts on the table before the donor heart on right is surgically implanted into the patient. File. (Nevan C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune). (Nelvin C. Cepeda)

It is always nice to read of new medical advances, especially one taking place in Maryland (“Maryland man is first to receive a pig’s heart,” Jan.11). This highlights the urgent need for more organ donors.

According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, 106,664 people in the U.S. are on the national transplant waiting list, including over 2,600 in Maryland. The problem is especially acute for those waiting for a kidney or liver transplant. It is estimated that 17 people die each day awaiting a transplant.

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Being an organ donor can save up to eight lives. I personally have seen dozens of my patients with cystic fibrosis add years of productive life after a lung transplant.

The good news is that it is easy and painless to sign up to become a potential organ donor. You can do this when applying or re-applying for your Maryland driver’s license, by using the Health app on your iPhone or going on-line at DonateLifeMaryland.org.

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In the midst of the pandemic, what a wonderful way to give the gift of life.

Beryl Rosenstein, M.D., Pikesville

Add your voice: Respond to this piece or other Sun content by submitting your own letter.

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