Letters to the Editor: One grim statistic shows we desperately need more organ donors

Tony Fernandez
Tony Fernandez, seen playing for the New York Yankees in 1995, died at the age of 57 while awaiting a kidney transplant.
(Tony Dejak / Associated Press)

To the editor: In a letter to the editor, Dr. Jonathan Lucas, the chief medical examiner-coroner of Los Angeles County, states that only 5% of the nearly 10,000 deaths investigated annually by his office involve tissue and/or organ donors. Whether this figure is representative of the entire population of Los Angeles County, the state of California, or the entire U.S., it is nevertheless shockingly low.

A day earlier, there was a brief note in the Sports section of the L.A. Times that former Major League Baseball all-star shortstop Tony Fernandez had died of kidney failure in Florida at age 57 while on the waiting list for a transplant.

Thousands of lives are saved nationwide each year through organ transplantation. However, one is only left to wonder how many thousands more are lost because not enough people are willing to give the gift of life by becoming organ donors.


Mark Haas, M.D., Sherman Oaks

The writer is a renal pathologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.