He made the desk in his office at IU Health Indiana University Hospital. He made the bookshelf too. Woodworking is one of Dr. Tim Taber’s hobbies. He is also a beekeeper, a marathon runner, and an avid Cubs fan.
But when he’s sitting at this desk or walking the hospital halls he’s often thinking of this: Every 10 minutes someone is added to the organ donor wait list. He’s been doing organ transplants for two decades and one thing he’s learned over the years is there aren’t enough organs to go around.
“There are more transplants getting done but there is still a great need,” said Taber. “So even if there are more donors now than there were a few years ago, there are also more people waiting. As soon as someone gets off the waiting list, someone new comes on.”
Last year, IU Health teams performed 521 organ transplants. Each transplant has the potential of adding more than 50 years of life to the recipient, said Taber.
Here’s a look at a few more numbers from the Indiana Donor Network:
- More than 1,300 Hoosiers and 118,000 people nationwide are waiting for life saving organ transplants.
- Each day, 22 people on average in the U.S. die because a donated organ wasn’t made available in time.
- One organ donor can save as many as eight people.
- One tissue donor can enhance the lives of approximately 75 people.
- 30 seconds – that’s all it takes to register to become a donor.
- More than 3.7 million Hoosiers are registered as donors.
“My hope is that people will talk with their families in the light of the day about becoming a donor, rather than in their darkest part of the day,” said Taber.
Here are three more things Taber wants families to know:
- People between the ages of 18 and 65 can be living kidney donors.
- Signing up to become a donor is as easy as visiting the local Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Learn earn more at www.indiananetwork.org.
- IU Health Transplant programs are among the top in the nation.
“I think donor families are true heroes,” said Taber. “On the worst day of their lives, when they’ve lost a loved one, they make a decision to donate life.”
--By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health. Reach Banes via email at
T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.