Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Selected organ donation & transplant headlines from around the world

Bill to set punishment for selling transplant organs
The Jerusalem Post reports on a bill that sets down criminal punishment for selling human transplant organs or serving as a middleman and would allow "reasonable compensation" for losses caused by donating an organ. The bill was approved by a Knesset committee on Monday for its second and third readings in the plenum.

The bill, initiated by the Health Ministry, received the approval of a majority of the members of the Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee. When it passes the plenum, it will put Israel on a long list of countries that turned such prohibitions into legislation and, it is hoped, halt the sale of transplant organs in which Israelis have been involved inside the country and abroad. Read the full article.

Footballers Are On The Ball With Life-Saving Message, UK
A press release from the UK's Medical News Today notes that Millwall footballers are proving winners on and off the pitch by urging supporters and the wider local community to offer the gift of life and join the NHS Organ Donor Register (ODR).

Fresh from their FA Cup first round victory at the weekend, players from the League One club were at their Bromley training ground this week to support UK Transplant's My life, My gift awareness campaign highlighting the need for more people to sign-up to the ODR. They were joined by liver transplant recipient Simon Randerson, who recently returned from the World Transplant Games in Thailand with a gold and silver medal for swimming.

In recent weeks, the My life, My gift campaign has targeted every household in London with a special leaflet containing facts about organ donation and transplantation as well as a simple Freepost form to join the ODR. Read the full press release.

My dead girl saved five lives
Crash teen had talked of being an organ donor

From the Belfast Telegraph comes the story of an Ulster mother who told how the intense pain of her teenage daughter's death in a road crash was eased after her organs were donated - saving five lives.

Laura Alexander (13) died in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital in September 2005 from a severe head injury suffered when she was knocked down by a car in Lisburn.

Her heartbroken mother Caroline said the decision to agree to Laura's organs being removed for donation was made easier because the pair had recently had a big chat about the issue, sparked by a television programme.

The Lisburn woman said she had great comfort knowing that her girl's heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, corneas and sclera saved the lives of five people desperately waiting for a donation. Read the full story.

Organ transplant system more organised in U.S
This article appears in India's The Hindu.

Bangalore: “The organ transplant system in the U.S. is relatively mature. The system has developed over the past 25 years. Things are very different here in India,” said Douglas W. Hanto, Chief, Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre.

Dr. Hanto was in the city to discuss and offer expert advice to Wockhardt Group of Hospitals on expanding their transplant programmes.

Speaking to presspersons here on Friday, Dr. Hanto said that in the U.S. organs from deceased donors were most used for transplants. “A very small percentage of organ transplants are actually from live, unrelated donors. In the U.S., there are 59 human organisations that maintain a registry of donors. Also, the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) maintains a registry of donors across the country. UNOS and the American Organ Procurement Organisation work and get the consent from families and coordinate the retrieval of organs with the respective hospitals.”

He also said that the system, though not entirely perfect, continues to change. The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients supported the ongoing evaluation of the scientific and clinical status of solid organ transplantation in the U.S.

Dr. Hanto said that in 2006, in the U.S., as many as 28,931 transplants were performed – 22,201 from deceased donors and 6,730 from live donors. In 2006, there were 10,659 kidney transplants from deceased donors and 6,432 from living donors (of the living donors 1,438 were from unrelated donors). There were 6,362 liver transplants from deceased donors and 288 from live donors. There were 463 pancreas transplants, 923 kidney/pancreas transplants, 2,191 heart transplants.

Vishal Bali, Chief Executive Officer, Wockhardt Hospitals, said that the biggest challenges were affordability, social acceptance to organ donation, dispelling the myths surrounding the same and setting a national agenda for organ donation.

“We need a structure or a system in place. Illegal organ donation exists only because of the lack of a proper system. Fortunately, even the Centre has been concerned and is taking steps to have a system in place,” he said. Read the article.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

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