Organ donations from brain-dead patients have increased significantly in recent years, with a record 400 donors last year, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Sunday.
According to the Korean Network for Organ Sharing, a total of 409 patients declared brain-dead donated organs in 2012, up 11 percent from a year ago.
The figure is up more than 10-fold from that of 2002, with 36 people. There were 86 organ donors after brain death in 2004, and the number jumped to 256 in 2008 ― a nearly three-fold increase in four years.
The total count of organ transplants from brain-dead patients last year stood at 1,709. By case, kidney transplants accounted for 768, nearly half of the total transplants, followed by corneal and liver transplants with 396 and 363, respectively.
The youngest donor was a 4-month-old girl. Her donated kidney and heart saved an 11-month-old baby and a 56-year-old woman, according to the report.
Despite the sharp increase, the number of organ donations in Korea still falls short of other developed countries. According to the KNOS, presently there are only eight donors per million inhabitants in Korea, while countries like the United States and Spain have rates at nearly 21 per million and 34 per million, respectively.
The government office said roughly 19,243 people were waiting for an organ transplant in Korea last year.
By Oh Kyu-wook (firstname.lastname@example.org