Donating organs for transplantation

Storing body parts for transplantation
The waiting lists for organ transplants are growing faster than the organs available.
Cadaveric - or dead - donors account for the bulk of transplants because they can donate several organs apiece whereas living donors give a single kidney or a piece of their liver. In the USA, there was a total of 5,984 dead donors in 2000, an increase of 2.7 percent over 1999, continuing the slow rise of recent years. The number of living organ donors climbed by more than 16.5 percent in 2000, the highest single annual rise, with more than 5,500 people giving away an organ.

"Living" liver donation is possible because of the liver's ability to regenerate. Within a month or so of a transplant both recipient and donor should have healthy, full-sized livers. The procedure has been widely available only since 1999. By the start of 2001, about 500 people around the world had donated liver sections to other adults. The risk of death to the donor is about 1 in 150. By comparison, the risk of death for those who donate a kidney, a long-standing practice, is only 1 in 10,000. At least two deaths, maybe three, have occurred so far - one in the USA and one or two in Europe.

Shortage is always going to be a concern with organ transplantation. But we can get more organs if the public believes that everyone has a fair chance to receive a transplant should they need one and that donation is not a matter of heroism but of common decency. There are some steps that are likely to produce more organs to save lives. (1) Remove financial barriers in access to transplants and ensure that that the rich and the poor have the same chance to get a transplant. Poor people, many without health insurance, do not donate their organs at the same rate as the rich because they know that the rich have a much better chance of getting transplants than they do. (2) Treat organ donation as expected not heroic. Every politician and social leader should publically fill out a donor card and say they are doing it because simply because it is the right thing to do. (3) Every doctor and nurse should approach organ donation as the right thing to do and expect that it is what people will want to do. If there are objections then the burden should be on individuals and families to raise them.
Type Classification:
G: Very Specific strategies