US reaches millionth organ transplant milestone

On Friday, the United Network for Organ Sharing announced that the United States has reached its millionth organ transplant.

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According to a news release from UNOS, more than half of the million transplants performed in the United States have happened since 2007.

“The organ donation and transplant community has made lifesaving history together,” said Jerry McCauley, M.D., president of the UNOS Board of Directors, in the news release. “We invite donor families, transplant recipients, candidates, living organ donors, physicians, professionals, volunteers, advocates and others touched by transplant to honor and celebrate the gifts that made this important milestone possible.”

According to The Associated Press, advocates for organ transplants have a new campaign that will hopefully speed up the next million transplants. The campaign is to get more people registered to become organ donors.

UNOS said that the first successful transplant happened in 1954 in Boston. According to the AP, that transplant was for a kidney.

More than 41,000 transplants were performed across the country in 2021, which is the most ever in a single year, and double the number from just 25 years prior, according to UNOS.

“Achieving 1 million transplants is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of the donation and transplant community,” said UNOS CEO Brian Shepard in the news release. “While one million is just a number, each one of those million is a person restored to their families and communities. While we celebrate, honor and reflect, the work continues to save even more lives, increase the effectiveness of our high-performing national system, and reach the next million.”

According to the AP, the millionth transplant has not been revealed.