Turn to Tara: Organ transplants in NY plummet, down 90% in last month

The coronavirus is impacting all aspects of the medical world, but when it comes to transplants, the results are especially devastating.
The number of organ transplants in New York has plummeted — down 90% in the past month.
The shortage is affecting Anthony Luisi, a father of four who is in end stage renal failure. A dialysis machine now keeps him alive. He is treated with one four hours a day, three days a week.
“I try to encourage people at the dialysis center. But I’ll be honest with you Tara - On a Tuesday, I go in. I got somebody next to me. And then on Thursday, he's not there. He died. It's affecting a lot of us,” he said.
That’s because the transplant world in New York is at a standstill, a victim of neglect amidst a heated competition for medical resources.
Helen Irving is the president of Live On NY – the organization that oversees organ procurement in the Hudson Valley and New York City. With most residents still at home, she says there have been fewer accidents, which means fewer traumatic events that lead to organ donation.
“It's the perfect storm,” she told News 12.
But going forward, she warned that state leaders need a better plan, or risk the needless loss of lives.
“I think we have to learn from it and learn how to improve our systems…We need to be better prepared,” said Irving.
It's a concern shared by state Sen. Peter Harckham who told the Turn to Tara team that the Senate Health Committee is already looking into legislative remedies that could include special mandates at hospitals across New York.
“We've got to find ways working with the state Health Department to ensure that programs that save lives can continue during this crisis,” he said. We've got to be able to multi-task and not just handle one lesson at a time.”
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