Capitol Hill Reacts To Facebook’s Organ Donor Initiative

By David Cohen 

Members of the Senate and House of Representatives, several of whom have medical backgrounds, responded to Facebook’s announcement this morning of an initiative to promote organ donation with posts on the Congress on Facebook page.

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), chair of the GOP Doctors Caucus:

As a physician for more than 30 years, it’s inspiring to see Facebook using its global influence to raise awareness of a critical health issue that impacts more than 114,000 people in the U.S. alone. Social media has the power to impact communities in incredible ways, and I’m hopeful that this initiative will result in broader knowledge of the organ donation crisis.

Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), doctor:

As a doctor, I know how precious life is and how meaningful organ donation is for families in need. Facebook has added a new feature to its timeline, which allows you to share if you are an organ donor. To add this information to your page, click on life event and then health and wellness. From there, you will see the link for organ donor. Once selected, you can add the date you became a donor to your personal timeline, as well as share your story.

Former Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), physician:

I used to transplant hearts weekly, but too many of my waiting patients would die before an organ became available. You can change that and literally give life to others. Begin now by clicking on the new (released today) innovative Facebook status update tool. This makes it easy to commit, register, and then brag to your friends. 23 years ago, I tried to increase organ donation the old way, by writing a book on the new miracle of transplantation. I attached an organ donor card to every book. I reached a few thousand people. Today, with the Facebook tool, we can reach millions over the next few hours. Social media can give thousands a new chance at life. Now go sign up!

Congressional Tri-Caucus Chairs Reps. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), and Charles A. Gonzalez (D-Texas):

Roughly 50.5 percent of the 114,000 people in the U.S. waiting for an organ transplant are minority community members. Due to a lack of donors, 18 people die every day, yet a single organ donor can save eight lives. The Facebook organ donor initiative could greatly impact diverse communities through the power of sharing on Facebook timeline. We encourage all communities to participate in this initiative, and we commend Facebook for taking a leadership position on this important issue.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), former Wyoming Physician of the Year:

(Facebook’s new feature) allows users to promote the important role that organ donation plays in saving thousands of lives each year.

Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.):

With nearly 115,000 Americans currently awaiting transplants — and with that list growing every single day — Facebook’s organ donor feature creates a unique, new opportunity to share critically important information in real time. I also believe this will help to make it easier for Americans, as well as people all around the world, to have an open and frank discussion among family members and friends about the importance of donating organs.

Facebook is making certain that users have control over who views this information, or they can simply choose not to post any information at all. These are important privacy safeguards. I commend Facebook for undertaking this important new public service campaign and for doing it in such a responsible way.