Thursday, February 16, 2012

In Israel, a New Approach to Organ Donation

New York Times | Dannielle Ofri, MD

One of the most agonizing spots in medicine is the “transplant list.” When I’ve referred patients for organ transplant — heart, liver, kidney — it is the start of an anguished wait. The clock ticks for my patient as we watch her clinical status decline, all the while harboring that excruciating hope that someone will die soon enough to make an organ available. In the case of kidney donation, which can come from a live donor, it is the desperate hope that someone will decide to make this enormous personal sacrifice.

Some of my patients have died waiting, which is, sadly, not an unusual outcome. It is estimated that 18 patients on the waiting list in America die every day. In the United States, as in many countries, we rely on a simple system of altruism, or what might be called the opt-in approach. We hope that people will sign organ donor cards because they think it is the right thing to do, or that families will consent to donation after a loved one has had brain death because it will help someone else. But these mechanisms do not result in nearly enough organs for all the patients who need them.Read more: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/16/in-israel-a-new-approach-to-organ-donation/

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