DMV, hospitals urge for donor registration

Published 7:42 pm Friday, October 6, 2017

Organ donation is a proven lifesaver, and groups in Beaufort County are doing their part to encourage residents to register as donors.

Almost half of drivers registered with the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles are listed as organ donors — a 1.6-percent increase from last year, according to data from Donate Life NC. However, this percentage still comes in below the state average of 54.5 percent.

As most drivers know, each trip to the DMV for license renewal involves a simple question: “Do you want to be an organ donor?” If the answer is “yes,” a small heart is printed on the license to let others know. NCDMV began its donor campaign in 1994.

“For every one person that donates, there are so many lives that are affected,” said Lynne Fisher, a quality nurse at Vidant Beaufort Hospital. “It’s extremely important.”

At Vidant Beaufort, there is no in-house transplant program. Instead, Washington’s hospital works with Carolina Donor Services and Miracles in Sight to get the tissue, bone and eye donations its patients need, according to Fisher.

“We are not allowed as a hospital to ask the family whether or not they were organ donors or wanted them to be,” Fisher said. “The main thing we try to do is get people registered to be donors. … We can offer that information.”

Fisher also said Vidant Beaufort is required to report any patient deaths within an hour. That way, any available organs will be shared quickly on the registry list, which means more lives can be saved.

There were more than 118,000 people on the list in need of transplants in the United States as of April 2. About 75,800 of those patients were in “active waiting,” or most in need of a transplant, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health Resources and Services Administration.

As of April 12, the most recent data available, 8,365 transplants had been performed in the U.S. this year.

The NCDMV announced earlier this week that, along with Donate Life NC, it surpassed a milestone of 5 million licensed drivers registered in the state as organ donors.

“Of all the people who have signed up for the organ donation registry in North Carolina, 99 percent of them did so at a NCDMV office,” NCDMV Commissioner Torre J. Jessup stated.

Fisher said one person’s organs can positively affect several other people’s lives, and that’s why registering to be a donor is important.

With an organ transplant, a critically ill patient just might get a new lease on life.

For more information, or to sign up to be an organ donor, visit or, or visit the local DMV office on Carolina Avenue in Washington.