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The Key To Solving The American Organ Allocation

2876 words - 12 pages

Justin, a South Carolina college student, died at the age of 23 while on the waiting list for a lung transplant. When Justin was three months old he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a disease which affects the lungs. Throughout his childhood he coped with his illness but at the age of 20 his health took a turn for the worst. Justin was on the waiting list for two years but no lungs came available in time. Organ allocation in the United States of America has become a heavily debated subject in the medical field as well as the political and ethical fields. There is no doubt that there is a shortage of organs in the United States. In order to increase organ supply the American Department of Health should integrate the effective allocation policies of some European countries such as Spain and Austria. These policies include: who receives organs, an opt-out program, and de-regionalized donations.
Today in the United States approximately 100,000 people are on the notional waiting list for organ transplants. The federal government of the United States has appointed a non-profit organization called the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) based out of Virginia to allocate organs as in the United States. As it stands the policy states that matching organs with recipients is based on the length of time a person has waited on a list and how sick a person is. The country is divided into eleven different regions. One an organ becomes available in a certain region it is offered to the first person on the list for that particular organ in the region. In the unlikely event it is not able to be received by somebody in its region the organ is offered nationwide. For an organ to become eligible for transplant it either has to be donated from a living donor, for organs such as kidneys, or has to be taken from a recently deceased person. For organs to be taken from a deceased person that person would have had to sign up as a donor. If not the family and relatives of the deceased needs to give consent.
Every day in the United States twelve people die while waiting for an organ transplant list. Even if someone receives an organ transplant there is no guarantee that it will function properly or if the recipient will survive. If an organ is given to the person at the top of the list who has been on the list the longest that person is most likely to be the sickest, weakest and generally older than others on the list. When they receive the organ there is no guarantee that they will survive which would be a waste of a good organ.
Hearts are an example of an organ that needs to be given to the right patient in order for the transplantation to be a success. Generally if a person receives a heart transplant before the age of 55 have a higher potential rate of living ten years after the operation then those 55 and older. A surgical resident at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and the leader of the study published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery stated “There are 2,000 to...

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