Thursday, January 31, 2008

Organ Donation and Transplant News

Selected headlines

Incentive offer for organ donation to stop black trade

From the Hindustan Times:
It's a little too late for those who have died waiting for a kidney, but at least the government has finally woken up to the acute shortage of organ donors in the country.

Incentives would now be given to people who donate the organs of their loved ones after they have been declared brain-dead. Among the benefits for wife, child or parents of the deceased are life and health insurance cover, discounts in train travel and preferred status in organ transplant waiting list.

The black market for kidneys is booming and here’s why: of the 1.5 lakh people who suffer end-stage kidney failure each year and needed a transplant, barely 3,500 were lucky enough to find a donor.

“Voluntary donations need to be encouraged to make organ transplant easy for genuine patients,” said Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss. “These recommendations will encourage voluntary organ donations from the families of people who have been declared brain dead and we will notify the final rules soon.” Read more of the story.

India Police Hunt for Kidney Transplant Ringleader

India is hunting for the leader of a gang who allegedly masterminded a global kidney transplant ring targeting poor people in the South Asian nation in the past decade, a police official said.

Police are holding a doctor, Upendra Kumar, on suspicion of operating on about 500 "mostly poor laborers," Mohinder Lal, the officer in charge of the investigation, said in a phone interview from Gurgaon on the outskirts of the capital New Delhi, where the operation was based. "The mastermind, Amit Kumar, is still at large."

The sale of kidneys for commercial gain in India is illegal, said Sunil Shroff, managing director of the non-government organization, Multi Organ Harvesting Network, set up in 1997 to popularize organ donation. Transplants are vetted by a government-run authorization committee and approvals have to be granted under the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994, he said. Violators can get jail terms of two to five years.

The federal agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation, will lead the probe, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss told reporters in New Delhi today. The government is also planning to make changes in the existing organ-trade laws to make them more stringent, he said. Read the full article.

Posthumous award for student who died waiting for transplant

From the Gloucestershire Gazette in the UK:
A CYSTIC fibrosis sufferer who waged a national campaign for organ donors while fighting her own battle against illness has been awarded a special posthumous degree by university chiefs.

Robyn Tainty, 24, of Thornbury, was putting the finishing touches to her Master of Arts studies at the University of Sussex when she died last September.

The former Castle School pupil had been waiting for a lung transplant for two and a half years and spent the final months of her life campaigning for greater awareness about organ donation.

She died in the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Unit at Southampton Hospital after a long battle against the debilitating effects of the lung disease.

Her parents Stephen Large and Rae Stephenson attended the university's winter graduation ceremony in Brighton last weekend to meet University Chancellor Lord Attenborough and to collect their daughter's certificate for her Masters degree in Gender Studies. Read the full article.

Organ donors could receive tax credit
Bill would reimburse up to $10,000 in expenses

From The Capital-Journal in Kansas:
Living organ donors could be eligible for a $10,000 tax credit under a bill discussed Wednesday in the House Taxation Committee.

The proposal would apply to donors’ travel and lodging expenses and any lost wages from time off for surgery.

State employees currently can receive paid leave for an organ donation, but they aren’t eligibile for travel and living reimbursement. There are no provisions for workers in the private sector.

“Encouraging more donations from living donors where it is appropriate would decrease the wait time for those on the deceased donor wait list and provide a transplant in time to save a life,” said Ron Hein, legislative counsel for Midwest Transplant Network.

The measure would apply to all or part of a liver, pancreas, kidney, intestine, lung or bone marrow from living donors only. Arkansas and Oklahoma already have a similar measure and Missouri is currently considering a proposal. Read the full story.

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