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Transporting Organs To Give People A New Lease On Life

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Boxes in which organs and tissues will be transported across the Washington Metro region.
Kavitha Cardoza
Boxes in which organs and tissues will be transported across the Washington Metro region.

By Kavitha Cardoza

More than 2000 people in the D.C. area are waiting for organ transplants. As part of Organ Donation Awareness Month, Becky Hill with the Washington Regional Transplant Community is walking around dozens of white cooler boxes, used to transport organs.

"When the surgeon packages the organ its in three sterile layers and then it's handed off to us. Then we package it in the ice. Then it's folded up and finally taped close," says Hill.

Hill has transported more than 500 organs, including livers, hearts and kidneys. She works with donor families, soon after they've been told their relative has died.

"Although we're not able to bring their loved one back, we can offer just one good thing to come out of this tragedy," she says.

John Ogden, with the WRTC, says there are many misconceptions about the process that prevent people from donating organs.

"They think perhaps the doctors or nurses won't save them if they see the heart on the drivers license. And that's not true. People think they can't have an open casket funereal. And that's not the case," says Ogden.

In D.C. 34 percent of adults have registered to be donors. In Maryland it's 46 percent and in Virginia, it's 56 percent.

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