Three Rivers: What do you think?

October 16, 2009

Have you watched Three Rivers, the new transplant-related medical drama on CBS? If so, what do you think about it? While NFT is thrilled about the show’s efforts to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation, there are certainly some unrealistic aspects. Overall, NFT hopes Three Rivers continues to shed some light on the world of transplantation so more people understand how challenging, expensive and scary it can be. The producers of Three Rivers work with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) to verify facts and statistics, which means that information should be current and accurate for all the viewers at home.

Let’s discuss some questions we’ve heard from Three Rivers viewers:

Does everyone get a new organ so quickly?
The short answer is no. The doctors on Three Rivers only have a one-hour time span in which they can transplant their patients, but that’s not true in the real world. The reality is that even though some patients are fortunate enough to be transplanted quickly, many patients wait for months—even years—before receiving a lifesaving organ.

How many people are waiting on a transplant in the U.S.?
Currently, more than 104,000 people are awaiting lifesaving transplants, and a new name is added to the list every 11 minutes. Sadly, there is a national shortage of organ donors, and 18 people die each day because there aren’t enough donors. Last year, only about 25% of the patients waiting received a transplant.

To become an organ donor, take the NFT Transplant Challenge!

Will insurance pay for everyone who needs a transplant?
Not necessarily. Even if someone has “good” insurance that covers transplant surgery, they may not be prepared for the enormous costs related to post-transplant medications and follow-up care, which will continue for the rest of their lives. Post-transplant medications can cost as much as $5,000 per month and can lead to a lifetime of financial worry. NFT encourages all transplant patients to strongly consider fundraising to help with their transplant-related medical expenses.

For more information about organ donation and transplantation costs, visit NFT's FAQ page.