Organ donor shortage leads to new sharing ideas -- and ethical questions
From The News & Advance in Lynchburg, Virginia:
In a season of giving, the gift of life is the ultimate present to someone who is dying because of organ failure - heart, lung, kidney, liver, and pancreas.
Over the past five years, a new option for giving has emerged: LifeSharers.
The concept was developed by a retired insurance man who looked at the number of people who died waiting for human organs and thought there must be a better way.
“Americans are burying or cremating 20,000 transplantable organs a year,” said David Undis, who founded the Tennessee-based LifeSharers. Compare that to “6,000 or 8,000 who die because there are not enough organs.”
He called it “a terrible waste.”
What’s happening is not an organ shortage, said Undis in a phone interview; “it is an organ donor shortage.”
The nonprofit LifeSharers now has a list with 10,000 names of people who are willing to donate organs, and want the first choice of recipients to be those who feel the same way and have signed on as members, too.
That runs contrary to the current system, which gives an available organ to the person who is most in need. It does so through an extraordinary network that coordinates the donor, the recipient, retrieval teams, transplant surgeons, and hospital transplant centers.
The LifeSharers idea has met with resistance from the organization that coordinates that network, the United Network for Organ Sharing, and from organ procurement agencies, such as LifeNet Health, which covers the area that includes Lynchburg. Read the complete article.
Teen celebrates birthday with new liver
From The Star in South Africa:
A few months ago, Martha Nwaneri was at death's door.
Her liver wasn't functioning properly, she was severely underweight and she could barely walk or talk.
She was depressed and knew she was gravely ill.
Today the teenager from Nigeria is celebrating her 18th birthday after a lifesaving liver transplant operation done at the Wits University Donald Gordon Medical Centre in Joburg.
Martha was one of two recipients of a split liver transplant. The other recipient was 9-year-old Jean-Pierre Strydom from Pretoria.
The pair underwent back-to-back surgery at the medical centre in September after a suitable organ became available. The liver was split into two segments and transplanted into Martha and Jean-Pierre by a team of specialist doctors. Read the story.
From The Nation News in Barbados:
PROFESSOR VELMA SCANTLEBURY-WHITE, GCM, has risen from the classroom of the Alleyne School in St Andrew to become America's first African-American female transplant surgeon, performing more than 1 000 kidney operations in her career.
Reflecting on that Barbados school experience, she says with pride: "I am truly grateful for the education at the Alleyne School which set me on the road."
Velma Scantlebury-White being congratulated by Acting Governor-General Sir Fred Gollop after being presented with the insignia of the Gold Crown of Merit at Government House last Independence Day. (Picture by Cherie Pitt.)
The transplant surgeon, professor of surgery, assistant dean for community education, director of the Division of Transplantation and director of the University of Alabama Regional Transplant Centre was warmly applauded as she stood on the stage at Government House on Independence Day to receive the award of Gold Crown of Merit from Acting Governor-General Sir Fred Gollop. Read the article.
“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”