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Organ shortages is everybody’s fault. Part 1

Posted By Pierre Charland     December 21, 2018    


Studies show that if all patients dying in the hospital who potentially meet criteria to become organ donor up to 75,000 organs could be transplanted every year.  Last year there was a little over 31,000 transplants performed in the US and the waitlist has dropped a little.  Imagine what 75,000 could do to the waitlist.  But why are we not using all those donors??  It is everybody’s fault from the OPO (OPO are in charge of recovering organs), to the transplant centers, the transplant candidates, donor hospitals and some potential donor families.  I guess we can also add the government in this mix with its Medicare arm. 

I have had to deal with some OPOs as a transplant coordinator where I felt they were not interested into placing some organs.  All they wanted to do was to go to OR and recover 1 or 2 organs instead of giving us more time and try to place 3-4 organs.  They use 2 excuses:  the donor is becoming unstable and they need to rush or the donor family is losing patience and wants to move on.  Either one can be true but there are some situations you feel like the OPO is just trying to close the deal and move on.  Maybe a little better communication with the donor family could allow for more time in some cases.  Transplant centers representatives like me as a transplant coordinator don’t have access to talk directly to the donor family to plead a case.  I have been frustrated on a few occasions by OPOs who I felt were not in the business of doing all they can to maximize organ placement. 

In a future blog I will also explain why I blame the other parties because it is a shared responsibility. 


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