Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Organ Donation and Transplant News

Selected news headlines

Singapore to include Muslims in organ donation laws

From AFP
SINGAPORE (AFP) — Singapore's Muslims will be covered under its organ donation laws from August 1 in an effort to enlarge the donor pool for its Malay population, the health minister said.

The move "will level the playing field" for Malays, who account for a disproportionate percentage of people on the kidney waiting list, Minister for Health Khaw Boon Wan said during a parliamentary session Monday.

Under an amendment approved by parliament on Monday, Muslims will come under the Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA). The act says that anyone aged 21 to 60 is presumed to have agreed to donate vital organs -- kidneys, heart, liver and corneas -- upon death unless they opt out.

For the past 20 years since the act was passed, Muslims had to opt in but local Islamic authorities last year issued a new edict which made it permissible for Muslims to to be covered under the act, Khaw said.

"It will allow more Muslims to have the same chance as others in obtaining a new lease on life through an organ transplant," the minister said.

Malays, who are predominantly Muslim, constitute 13 percent of Singapore's resident population but made up 21 percent of the people waiting for a kidney last year, he said.

'So grateful': Lives changed after receiving organs
This article in USA Today tells of three heartwarming transplant stories: About a firefighter who is alive because of skin transplants; of a father who is walking around with his daughter's transplanted heart; and of twin sisters who both received lung transplants due to cystic fibrosis. This is a Wonderful article to read.

Baby receives heart transplant after 47 days on experimental pump

From The Salt Lake Tribune:
On a belated Christmas morning in mid-January, a rosy-cheeked Kaidence Stephenson discovered stuffed animals, a toy kitchen and picture books beneath her tree.

But those knick-knacks didn't compare to the gift the 10-month-old had received weeks before - a new heart.

After surviving 47 days on an experimental heart pump, Kaidence received a living, beating heart of her own.

"She's here because someone was willing to sacrifice and give us such a beautiful gift," said the tearful mother, Shauntelle Stephenson, during a Monday news conference.

Kaidence had become the youngest Utahn to receive an experimental pump known as the Berlin Heart - the only such device small enough for infants.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn't approved the device, but consented to its emergency use in November to save the child's life.

It worked. Read the full article.

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