New Statewide Survey Suggests Procrastination is Biggest Challenge in Organ Donor Crisis

February 14, 2014

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HARRISBURG (February 14, 2014) – In today’s world of declining attention spans, 30 seconds can seem like a long time. But when lives are at stake, is 30 seconds still too much? According to a recent survey by Donate Life Pennsylvania, that may be the case for those not registered as an organ and tissue donor in Pennsylvania. The survey results, released today on National Donor Day, reveal that almost one in three (30%) Pennsylvanians who haven’t signed up as an organ donor simply “haven’t gotten around to it.”

“It’s disturbing that so many people aren’t registering simply out of apathy,” said Susan Stuart, President & CEO of the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE). “We know that 90 percent of Americans agree with organ donation, but too many Pennsylvanians don’t take the time to sign up online – 30 seconds. Lives are being lost because people don’t see the urgency in this issue. Organ donation is a life or death matter.”

More than 8,400 Pennsylvanians are currently on the waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant and, across the country, as many as 18 people die each day due to the lack of available organs for transplant. In Pennsylvania, only 45 percent of registered drivers have placed the organ donor designation on their driver’s license or state I.D. card.  

“Anyone can register to be an organ donor at any time. Many people believe the only time they can register is at PennDOT, which is no longer the case,” said Howard M. Nathan, President & CEO of Gift of Life Donor Program. “In as little as 30 seconds, you can designate yourself as an organ and tissue donor online and help save a life by giving someone a second chance at theirs. If you haven’t signed up to be a donor, make today the day you sign up for the ultimate act of selflessness.”

Donate Life Pennsylvania recently launched a public education initiative highlighting how quickly one can register to be an organ and tissue donor online – it only takes 30 seconds. Aptly titled, “30 Seconds,” the campaign aims to educate PA residents that they can register to be an organ and tissue donor online as well as at PennDOT to help reach the organization’s goal of 200,000 newly registered organ donors. It also features the stories of six real Pennsylvanians from across the state who have agreed to share their personal experience to encourage their fellow citizens to register online at DonateLifePa.org.

“It's quite remarkable - particularly when you consider this is literally an issue of life or death for people on the transplant waiting list - that 30 percent of Pennsylvanians admitted they are not organ donors simply because they haven't gotten around to it,” said Terry Madonna of Terry Madonna Opinion Research. “It underscores the urgency and supports the reasons for a public education campaign that stresses it only takes 30 seconds to register to save a life.”

The survey results also revealed that more than half (52%) of the registered organ and tissue donors said being a donor was “the right thing to do.”

“In many cases, organ and tissue donors save and heal the lives of complete strangers,” said Howard M. Nathan of Gift of Life Donor Program. “Giving someone you may not know a second chance is the ultimate act of kindness.”


Methodology

The document presents the findings of a survey of 805 Pennsylvania registered voters conducted from September 13 - October 10, 2013. The survey was designed by Terry Madonna Opinion Research and the interviewing was conducted by First Contact of Rehoboth, Delaware. The sample error for the total sample is plus or minus 3.5 percent. Telephone numbers for the survey were generated from state-wide voter registration lists. The final sample was weighted (gender, party, and region) to correct for differential probabilities of selection and non-response using an iterative weighting procedure.

In addition to sampling error, this poll is also subject to other sources of non-sampling error. Generally speaking, two sources of error concern researchers most. Non-response bias is created when selected participants either choose not to participate in the survey or are unavailable for interviewing. Response errors are the product of the question and answer process. Surveys that rely on self-reported behaviors and attitudes are susceptible to biases related to the way respondents process and respond to survey questions.