Friday, February 18, 2005

Transplant denied!

Patrick Garrity wants to donate one of his kidneys to his friend Alex Crionas. Because Mr. Crionas had created a web site to recruit a donor, the LifeLink transplant center in Tampa is refusing to test Mr. Garrity to see if he is a suitable match, according to a story in today's Tampa Tribune.

LifeLink's behavior is outrageous.

If you agree, please send an email to Dr. Victor Bowers, the Medical Director at LifeLink. His email address is Please also send a letter to the editor of the Tampa Tribune. You can access their online form at

There is nothing illegal about using the internet to try to improve your chances of getting an organ transplant.

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Thursday, February 03, 2005

Not all slopes are slippery

The Dallas Morning News published a story yesterday about LifeSharers.

The story quotes Pam Silvestri, a persistent critic of LifeSharers. She works for the Southwest Transplant Alliance, the organ procurement organization that services the Dallas area. She says LifeSharers is a "slippery slope" because if LifeSharers succeeds, "what's to stop dozens of lists from being created that allow special access based on other agendas ... race, religion, etc.?"

Some slopes aren't slippery, and this is one of them. Giving organs first to Hispanics doesn't produce more Hispanics, and giving organs first to Catholics doesn't produce more Catholics. But giving organs first to organ donors produces more organ donors, and that saves lives. That's the whole idea behind LifeSharers.

Besides, is it necessarily a bad thing for organ donors to give special access to members of their own race or religion? If it produces more organ donors and saves more lives, I say it's a good thing.

Ms. Silvestri also says LifeSharers won't work. She says it isn't practical for a LifeSharers member to offer their organs to a fellow member "because the organs might not match anyone in the LifeSharers group...and the small number of people in that group likely won't ever be in a position to donate. And even if they were, it is unlikely that the others in the group will be on the wait list for an organ."

Ms. Silvestri misses the point. It is possible that a member's organs won't be a good match for any other member, but the odds of that go down every time we get a new member. She is also misinformed. We already have 21 members "on the wait list for an organ" and statistically it's a virtual certainty that sooner or later a LifeSharers member will "be in a position to donate."

Ms. Silvestri and her colleagues at the OPOs around the country should be helping LifeSharers, not criticizing us. We recruit organ donors. That helps the OPOs. It also helps save lives. Isn't that what the OPOs are in business to do?

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