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The FAIR Foundation’s 27-member Board of Directors of transplant surgeons, medical directors and patient advocates is pleading with Congress to act promptly to end America’s organ-donor crisis.
Palm Desert, California (PRWEB) August 23, 2011The FAIR Foundation’s 27-member Board of Directors of transplant surgeons, medical directors and patient advocates is pleading with Congress to act promptly to end America’s organ-donor crisis.
FAIR’s President and CEO, Dr. Richard Darling states, “Our country is experiencing an organ-donor crisis that demands immediate action from Congress to pass pilot projects of new policies that we believe will eliminate the waiting list within five years.”
Darling: “A transplant patient dies, on average, every 52 minutes waiting of the ‘Gift of Life.’ There are 111,903 patients on the waiting list today; however that is not the full story: another 317,000 patients are undergoing difficult 3-hour kidney dialysis treatments three times a week but they are not even on the list yet. In addition, the waiting list for kidneys in some areas is 8-10 years—a death sentence.”
Does one’s race and/or age play a role in obtaining an organ?
Darling’s answer: “African-Americans and Hispanics are disproportionately affected by our failing system because of their high rates of diabetes. Rob Stein of the Washington Post reported that rules are being considered that give younger patients favoritism over older patients. In reality, this is already occurring regularly in transplant centers; it’s rationing life-saving care and it’s unconscionable.”
The FAIR Foundation has joined with many other organ-donor advocates to promote two new policies to promote organ donation and, they believe, eliminate the waiting list within five years: “Financial Incentives” (FI) and “Presumed Consent” (PC).
Under FI living donors and deceased donor families would receive $50,000. Living kidney donors also would be reimbursed for medical expenses, lost wages and if their remaining kidney ever failed they would be moved to the top of the waiting list.
How would taxpayers pay for this?
Darling states, “Medicare would pay the $50,000 and it would be a cost- effective policy. According to the second largest provider of kidney dialysis, Davita, giving that patient a new kidney costs the federal Medicare program $50,000 less per patient each year than conventional dialysis.”
Darling continues, “Amazingly, the government-controlled non-profits that retrieve organs and tissues from deceased donors receive millions in revenue from selling those tissues as do many other for-profit companies that are expected to gross over $200 million by 2012 from donated tissues, yet the deceased donor’s family that has donated the tissues gets no compensation. This is immoral and grossly unfair.”
Can you buy an organ from your neighbor?
Darling responds, “No, under FI citizens cannot buy an organ."
But payment for organs is presently prohibited by law.
Darling responds, “When that 1984 law was passed there was no waiting list and when it was initiated in 1989 the list was only 19,095. With the list now at 111,903 and 18 of those patients dying every day, past moralizing is no longer justifiable – we must shift the focus towards saving more lives.”
Presumed Consent(PC) is presently utilized in 22 countries. With the passage of a PC law, everyone would be deemed an organ donor. It is important to note that each citizen retains their right to choose—if they wish they can opt out of the system.
Darling states, “If someone does not want to save a life after they die, let us put the burden on them to opt out of the system. Presently, the burden is on the person who wants to save a life to sign up at the DMV and tell their family members, etc.”
Should Congresspersons address this issue with the budgetary problems that are now facing our country?
Darling: “The financial problems being experienced pale in comparison to the death of a loved one due to the lack of donated organs. I urge all Americans to communicate the facts listed above to their Congresspersons so that we put an end to the suffering and dying in our country’s transplant intensive care units.”
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Dr. Richard Darling