Monday, June 4, 2012
'Exchanges' urged to ease organ shortage
Evansville Courier & Press | Byron Rohrig
A severe shortage of human organs for transplant means thousands die in the U.S. each year while on a waiting list.
On a day in late May (updates are daily), 114,431 people awaited an organ transplant, according to United Network for Organ Sharing, the nation's organ- and tissue-donation clearinghouse and widely known as UNOS. Of those, 73,041 were "active" — they were on that day needful of a transplant and cleared to receive one because they had been pronounced medically fit and had met all other qualifications.
By contrast, only 4,493 organs from 2,219 donors were transplanted nationwide in January and February of this year. In all of 2011 only 28,535 organs from 14,144 donors were transplanted, according to UNOS subsidiary Donate Life America, which promotes the cause.
Some factors that diminish the organ supply can't be helped. Only a small percentage of the organs of those willing to donate are in fact transplanted. It's a matter of where the donors die. It is a lamentable but unavoidable reality that would-be organ donors who, say, die at the scene of an accident cannot have their wish realized. Only organs of those declared brain-dead and preserved via life support can be used.
But there are avoidable reasons, too. Many people still don't check the organ donor box on their driver's license applications. And sometimes, families of those who have signed up to donate won't approve.
Read more: http://www.courierpress.com/news/2012/jun/04/exchanges-urged-to-ease-organ-shortage/