Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Third of Patients On Transplant List Are Not Eligible - washingtonpost.com

A Third of Patients On Transplant List Are Not Eligible - washingtonpost.com:

"The list of patients waiting for organ transplants, which is widely used to promote organ donations, includes thousands who are ineligible for the operations, according to statistics kept by the national network that manages the allocation of organs.

More than a third of the nearly 98,000 patients on the list at any one time are classified as 'inactive,' meaning they could not be given an organ if it became available because they are too sick, or not sick enough, or for some other, often unexplained, reason." ...

[C]ritics note that a significant number of patients have been inactive for more than two years and may never become eligible.

"The wait list is dishonest," said Donna L. Luebke, a nurse who said she was rebuked by UNOS officials when she complained about the list near the end of the three years she served on the organization's board of directors. "The public deserves to know the true numbers."

The revelation comes at a time when advocates of organ donation have come under fire for using increasingly aggressive strategies to obtain organs, justifying their efforts by citing the long and steadily growing waiting list. ..."If the number is not accurate, that's giving people the false impression that the situation is more serious than it is. It's deceptive."...


"It does help the political cause to push for legislation and policies to increase donor rates to use the bigger numbers," [Bioethicist Arthur] Caplan said. "It's not the accurate and truthful thing to be doing."

Advocates are also pushing a controversial strategy for obtaining organs from patients who are not yet brain-dead, known as donation after cardiac death, or DCD.

"The push for DCD is based solely on the idea that we have a huge disparity of organs," said Gail Van Norman, an anesthesiologist and bioethicist at the University of Washington.

"But if 30 percent of the names are the list are inactive, the data isn't a true reflection."


1 comment:

Dave said...

Active or inactive, over half of the 98,000 Americans on the national transplant waiting list will die before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate about 20,000 transplantable organs every year. Over 6,000 of our neighbors suffer and die needlessly every year as a result.

There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage -- give organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren't willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.

Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at www.lifesharers.org or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition.