Schwarzenegger and Jobs team for organ donations

March 19, 2010 2:20:29 PM PDT
Governor Schwarzenegger is teaming up with Apple CEO Steve Jobs to throw their combined weight behind a new bill to increase organ donations in California, and to create a first of its kind registry.

The governor is inside the Lucille Packard Children's Hospital with other special guests including Apple's co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs, who is a recent liver transplant survivor.

Governor Schwarzenegger, along with Apple's Steve Jobs, are announcing support for legislation to increase opportunities for organ donation.

The governor is sponsoring Senate Bill 1395, introduced by Senator Elaine Alquist of Santa Clara -- chair of the Senate Health Committee.

Before the news conference announcing the newly proposed legislation the governor, legislators, doctors and donor organizations toured the dialysis center at the Children's Hospital. All the dialysis center's beds are full of patients, some who are awaiting kidney transplants.

If passed, this legislation could save more lives -- making it easier for Californians to affirm their preferred organ donor status. The bill would also create the nation's first living donor registry for kidney transplants -- called the California Living Donor Registry -- this would help connect those wanting to donate to those in need of a transplant.

One mother, whose 3-year-old daughter has had both her kidneys removed and is awaiting a kidney, and possibly liver transplant, said every donation can potentially keep a family together.

"For her situation, her dad and I were both a match, so we wouldn't have really needed it. But would help for other people who wait years for a kidney or an organ, and the more people who would get on the registry -- I've actually never heard of this, so it's all new to me -- but it would be really good. I know that it would help a lot of people," said Jamie Alexander of Temecula.

In the U.S. there are more than 100,000 people currently waiting for an organ transplant, including more than 21,000 in California.

Through the new legislation, Californians would make a choice to register to be an organ donor, or consider registering at another time, by answering a mandated question when getting a license or state ID at the DMV.

The next step is for the legislature to consider whether to pass this widely supported bill.