By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Signing up to become an organ donor could be the newest craze on Facebook. Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl is On Your Side with more on today’s big announcement.
Tens of thousands of people are currently waiting for a life saving organ in the United States, more than 6,500 of them people in our area. Now, Facebook is encouraging its members to advertise their donor status on their page, hopefully encouraging others to register.
This is 52-year-old Gertrude Register’s new way of life. She’s regularly monitored by nurses and doctors at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where she lives and waits for a liver and kidney transplant to save her life.
“I hope it would get faster, because I would like to go home, and that’s what I want to do,” said Gertrude.
And that’s what Facebook is now hoping to accomplish. Today, the company announced and launched a new feature. The Facebook timeline allows users to share their organ donation status. It’s designed to pressure more people to register to become a donor, and ultimately save lives.
“There are patients dying because there are not enough organs to transplant, so if Facebook will be able to shorten the gap, to decrease the gap, I think we will all be extremely grateful to Facebook,” said Dr. Cataldo Doria, Chief of Transplant Surgery at Jefferson. He believes in the power of Facebook and is thrilled with this new potential.
To show your donor status, users add a new life event, then scroll to the health and wellness section and choose organ donor.
Donate Life Pennsylvania says the Facebook feature will help families know about donating for loved ones.
“I think it’s very important,” said Gertrude.
Though exhausted and in pain, Gertrude is excited that Facebook is trying to potentially save her life.
“I would like to hear a ring, and see, ‘There you go, we’ve got a liver for you.’ So I would be very happy about it,” said Gertrude.
When adding your donor status to the timeline, Facebook will provide links to the donor registry in your state to make it official. You can also register at the DMV, where they will declare it on your license.