Monday, July 26, 2010

Misinformation from UNOS after confessed killer gets organ transplant

"A confessed Bronx wife-killer who destroyed his liver in a half-cocked suicide attempt blew past nearly 2,000 New Yorkers on the state's transplant list to get a new organ," reports the New York Post.

The story attempts to explain how this can happen:
Social factors -- such as wealth, fame, arrest or criminal records -- do not figure into the decision on whether to give someone an organ....

"The system is designed to save as many people as possible," said Anne Paschke, spokeswoman for the United Network of Organ Sharing, which is responsible for organ allocation in the United States.
Ms. Paschke's statement is clearly not correct. The organ allocation system is NOT designed to save as many people as possible. If UNOS wanted to save more lives, it would change its organ allocation rules to offer donated organs first to registered organ donors. This would create an incentive for non-donors to become donors. With more donors, more lives would be saved.

UNOS should have two transplant waiting lists: the "A" list for registered organ donors, and the "B" list for those who haven't agreed to donate. UNOS should offer all organs first to donors on the "A" list. Non-donors on the "B" list can have the leftovers, if there are any.

UNOS has the power to make this common-sense change. Instead, UNOS treats registered organ donors no better than it treats people who refuse to donate. Since UNOS is willfully blind to the organ donor status of potential organ recipients, about half of the organs transplanted in the United States are given to people who haven't agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

Americans bury or cremate about 20,000 transplantable organs every year. Most of this tremendous waste would be eliminated if UNOS put organ donors first. Few Americans would refuse to donate their organs after they died if they knew it would reduce their chances of getting a transplant should they need one to live.

In the mean time, if you want to donate your organs to other registered organ donors you can join LifeSharers at

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