Sep 9, 2022 - Health

U.S. surpasses 1 million organ transplants as need continues to soar

Photo of three doctors in scrubs standing around a patient's bed preparing for surgery

Doctors prepare for a kidney transplant surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital on Feb. 25, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Raquel Zaldivar/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The U.S. surpassed one million organ transplants on Friday, reaching a milestone decades after the first successful transplant with a kidney in 1954.

Yes, but: The need for organ donors remains immense — more people are getting transplants than ever before — even as the nation's transplant system faces criticism for poor management and oversight.

Details: So far this year, 24,414 people have had a transplant operation, according to the United Network for Sharing Organs (UNOS), which runs the U.S.'s transplant system.

  • Almost 106,000 people are waiting for life-saving organ transplants.
  • Roughly 17 a day die waiting, AP reports.
  • Kidneys remain the highest in demand.

The big picture: More than 41,000 people in America underwent an organ transplant in 2021 — a new record after the pandemic led to a slight slowdown of the life-saving procedures in 2020.

Go deeper: Organ donation recovery rates worse for people of color, data show

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