Currently, over 100,000 people in the U.S. alone are waiting for an organ donation. But less than 40 percent of the public is registered as a donor. “One common fear is that physicians will not take all measures to save the life of a registered citizen at a time of illness,” say the authors of the study published in the current issue of JAMA. “Showing that many physicians are registered for organ donation themselves could help dispel this myth.”
So the researchers decided to find out just how many docs are actually registered as donors compared to the general public. Alvin Ho-ting Li, B.H.Sc., of Western University, London, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues compared databases of physicians and the public in Ontario and found that over 6,500 docs (43 percent) were registered as deceased organ donors compared to less than 24 percent of the public.
“Physicians were 47 percent more likely to be registered for organ and tissue donation than matched citizens,” wrote the authors. “Similar to factors associated with registration in nonphysicians, younger physicians and women were more likely to register.”