Coronavirus

Indiana sees organ donation registrations record despite pandemic

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — More people are signing up to become organ donors in Indiana, but the pandemic is making it harder for some to get on the list.

According to the federal government, you can’t be an organ donor if you have COVID-19.

Right now, 1,300 Hoosiers are waiting for an organ transplant and a new name is added to the list every 10 minutes. The Indiana Donor Network says coronavirus infections have impacted who can donate.

The state health department on Friday reported 63 more deaths, bringing Indiana’s COVID-19 death toll to 4,952. Also, an additional 6,912 Hoosiers have tested positive, bringing Indiana’s total number of people who have contracted the coronavirus to 282,311.

Eric Askew had to wait five years for a kidney transplant, until he got a call last week telling him a kidney was ready. He had

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“To wait that long was nerve-racking. But it was worth the wait,” said Askew.

That wait ended last week when he received a life-saving call letting him know that his kidney was ready. He had the procedure the same day. He said his life has been forever changed.

Because of COVID-19, fewer people will be given the opportunity to make that decision to become a donor. Eric’s wife, Frankie, said it’s discouraging to think this could negatively impact people waiting for an organ.

“There could be so many other donors if they could just take the precautions and do what’s necessary. This is a journey for all of us. We don’t know how things will turn out. At the same time, you try to do everything you can within your power so that you can help someone and be there for someone who needs an organ,” said Askew.

The Indiana Donor Network said they’re having a record-breaking year. More Hoosiers are signing up to be organ donors than ever before.

As of today more than 4.2 million Hoosiers are registered donors. Askew said that is great news for people still waiting for that life-changing phone call.

“There are people looking for a kidney who want a kidney who can’t find a kidney. The second day of the transplant you start feeling different, you feel better. Really it’s a new hold on life,” Askew said.

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