Tennessee Donor Services (TDS) announces a second consecutive year of record-breaking organ and tissue donation milestones. Thanks to the generosity of Tennesseans and their families, 433 organ donor heroes gave lifesaving gifts resulting in 1,232 organ transplants and setting all-time records in the TDS service area in 2021. Through November 2021, TDS ranked 3rd in the nation for the number of organ donor heroes per capita and 5th for the overall number of organ donor heroes. Additionally, 2,468 tissue donor heroes provided gifts of healing and mobility last year.
Remarkably, these lifesaving milestones come during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For the past two years, the TDS team, in collaboration with community hospital partners, adapted to pandemic-related challenges and worked diligently to continue the miracle of organ and tissue donation. In 2021, for the first time ever, the United States surpassed 40,000 organ transplants in one year, according to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the organization that assists OPOs in matching donated organs with patients on the waiting list. The United States has the highest-performing donation and transplant system in the world, thanks to the dedication and hard work of thousands of dedicated professionals across the country.
Even with the increasing numbers of organ donor heroes, the number of people in need of transplants continues to rise at a faster pace. Over 106,000 people are currently on the national organ transplant waiting list and more than 3,000 of those are on the Tennessee waiting list. Approximately 20 people in the U.S. die each day because of the need of lifesaving organs.