The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) took bold steps today, December 17, in two proposed rules to increase the availability of organs for the 113,000 Americans waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant – 20 of whom die each day – and to strengthen support for Americans who choose to be living donors. Both proposed rules advance policy changes the American Society of Nephrology has long been advocating for and is strongly supportive of.
An investigation from Kaiser Health News and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reportingfound that “between 2014 and 2019, nearly 170 organs could not be transplanted and almost 370 endured ‘near misses,’ with delays of two hours or more,” due to transportation problems. Nearly 113,000 people in the United States waiting for transplants, yet many organs, especially kidneys, are needlessly wasted because they do not reach their destination on time due to transportation issues.
Per the July 2nd, 2018 press release from The Declaration of Istanbul:
"The first new edition of the Declaration of Istanbul on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism, a seminal document that has helped to guide ethical practice in organ donation and transplantation around the world, was presented today at an international workshop in Madrid, Spain.
The Declaration was originally published in 2008, following a summit convened by The Transplantation Society (TTS) and the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) in response to growing concerns about international trafficking in human organs. It established definitions of practices such as transplant tourism and organ trafficking, and principles to guide policy makers and health professionals working in organ donation and transplantation. Since 2008, more than 135 professional societies have formally endorsed the Declaration.
In an opinion piece published this week in USAToday.com, contributors Andy Slavitt and Adam Brandon argue that many patients waiting for organ transplants pass away waiting, not due to lack of donors, but because of a “government-run monopoly”. They are referring to organ procurement organizations (OPOs), which are regional organizations in the US “charged with showing up at the hospital and working with the surviving family to coordinate a potential donation”. Research has found that OPOs are inefficient causing “28,000 organs to go uncovered from potential donors each year” in the US.