By Engin_Akyurt. CC0 Creative Commons.

On Feb. 21, IMSS Queretaro achieved its first multiorgan transplant of 2018, a feat that was possible thanks to the donation of a kidney, two livers and two corneas by a deceased woman and her family. This is a gesture that can change the lives of up to five people on the organ transplant lists.

There are, however, 21,661 patients on said lists, highlighting Mexico’s growing need for donors but their numbers are not increasing. During the first half of 2017, there were a total of 2,041 organ donors, slightly less than the 2,065 during that same period in 2016. By Feb. 21, there were a total of 902 transplants performed in 2018, according to the National Transplant Center (CENATRA). Of these, 97 percent were either cornea or kidney transplants.

As diabetes and cardiovascular ailments continue to rise among the population, the number of individuals needing transplants will only grow. Diabetes’ side effects include kidney and liver damage, while cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease and vascular disease affect the hearth’s arteries and valves, respectively. All of these can be deadly, and while they can be managed to a certain extent with medication and other treatments, often the best and only long-term solution is an organ transplant.

While campaigns are implemented every year and many groups are creating awareness of the importance of organ donation, it is also necessary for interested donors to actively communicate the decision to their families. While it may be a hard discussion, it might just save a life.

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