There aren't enough organs to go around. Nationally, 8% of patients die waiting for a liver; in New York, that rate is nearly double. - From NY Daily News
(In the case of liver transplant, it is also possible to take part of a living donor's organ, but this option is underutilized — only 359 living-donor transplants were done in 2015.) Because more than 24,000 Americans are waiting for a liver transplant, that leaves about 18,000 people on the waiting list for a donor organ — and roughly one in 10 of those patients lives in New York State.
With continuous damage, the liver starts to form scar tissue which eventually leads to cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease.
As a result, researchers developed a disease-severity score known as the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD), which is calculated from three lab tests, including bilirubin, clotting time (called INR), and creatinine.
While a New Yorker might need a MELD score of 35 to 40 in order to get a transplant, that same person, if she lived in other parts of the country, might be able to get a transplant with a MELD score of 25 or even lower.
Having the means to travel to another state should not determine a patient's life or death.