Law Review: Register as an organ donor this month


As most of you serious Law Review readers know, April is National Donate Life month.

Nearly 100,000 Americans are in need of an organ transplant. Every day an average of 17 people die waiting for an organ donation.

More than one-third of all deceased donors are age 50 or older and nearly 8% are 65 or older like me. So even if you are older, your organs can still be used to save a life. Almost half of the U.S. adult population are registered organ, eye and tissue donors.

While most of us may conceptually be in agreement with organ donations, we put it off with one excuse or another. Now is the time to register as a donor.


The purpose of this column is to request every one of you (and your family members and friends) sign up to be an organ and tissue donor. There are several different ways you can do so. Online with the Donate Life California Registry at Also see, and Para registrarse en Español vaya a

Something else you can do is to check “YES! I want to be an organ and tissue donor” when you renew your driver’s license or ID card through the California DMV.

It’s important to let your family know you want to donate because it’s not uncommon to have well-intentioned family members oppose a deceased’s desire to donate on their death.


Organs like a kidney, a partial lung or a partial liver can be donated while you are still alive to someone who is compatible. Often that is a family member. That takes the expression “unselfishly giving of yourself” to a new level. To learn more, visit the United Network for Organ Sharing at


There is a form prepared by the California Medical Association called an “Advance Health Care Directive” that allows you to specify your health care wishes. You may appoint someone to make health care decisions should you be unable to do so yourself, and you can give instructions in advance as to your wishes. The Directive includes an organ and tissue donation election. You don’t need a Will to fill out a directive.


I would be pleased to send you an Advance Health Care Directive — without charge – words that do not often fly by my lips. You can also get it online.

The Directive replaces the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care but that form remains valid. Even if you are uncomfortable agreeing to be a donor, which is a personal choice, completing an Advance Health Care Directive is an important part of your estate planning.

If you are relatively young, in particular if you are young, complete a donor directive form on the healthcare directive or by registering as a donor. Suggest doing so to your friends too. You may save a life, maybe many.

As they say, “you may not be a match for everyone, but you’re a perfect match for someone.”

This column is an updated version of a previous Law Review.

Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, California, and Reno, Nevada. Jim’s practice areas include: real estate, development, construction, business, HOAs, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at or

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