Friday, October 30, 2009

Liver donor and recipient now best of friends

The Kingston Whig Standard in Ontario has a wonderful, heartwarming story about a stranger who donated 70% of her liver to man after hearing about his search for a liver donor on a morning radio show. The donor is Sherrie Edmunds, 22 and the recipient was Dr. Chris Mueller, 51, a cancer researcher and bichemistry professor. I highly recommend reading this article that shows that when people are made aware of someone's desperate need for a life-saving organ transplant they want to help. Read the story at:
thewig.com.

(There's a slew of other articles and posts about Sherrie Edmunds that a Google search will turn up).

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

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Canadian scientists use gene therapy to repair injured donor lungs

Congratulations to Dr. Shaf Keshavjee and his team at Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, for their success in the use of gene therapy to repair injured lungs that were previously unsuitable for transplant. This breakthrough has the potential for global impact in the effort to provide more organs for transplant.

Researchers used the Toronto XVIVO Lung Perfusion System to continuously pump a bloodless solution of oxygen, proteins and nutrients into injured donor lungs, mimicking normal physiological conditions and warming the lungs to normal body temperatures. This makes it possible for the injured cells to begin repairing themselves, and also sets the stage for gene therapy repair techniques to be applied to donor lungs. The technique was shown to be simple and effective in improving lung function. Their results, “Functional Repair of Human Donor Lungs by IL-10 Gene Therapy,” are published in the October 28, 2009 edition of the journal SCIENCE Translational Medicine: http://stm.sciencemag.org
.


Toronto, Ontario - Breakthrough: For the first time, scientists in the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine at University Health Network have successfully used gene therapy to repair injured human donor lungs, making them potentially suitable for transplantation into patients. This technique could significantly expand the number of donor lungs by using organs that are currently discarded, and improve outcomes after transplantation.

In their pioneering work, a team of researchers led by Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, Senior Scientist at the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University Health Network and Director of the Lung Transplant Program, and the Latner Thoracic Surgery Research Laboratories, developed a technique of ex vivo gene delivery to donor lungs, before they are implanted into a recipient's body. The technique was shown to be simple and effective in improving lung function.

To find out more about this research milestone, click here.

Ex-vivo lung

click here for video of breathing lung
click here for enhanced view of an ex vivo lung

Clinical trials on humans would be the next step in testing this promising approach before it could be used on patients waiting for lung transplants. In these future clinical trials, lungs repaired with the gene therapy will be offered to patients waiting for a life-saving lung transplant. Currently, more than 50 patients are waiting for either a lung or heart-lung transplant in Ontario. About 20% of those on the wait list will die before they receive a lung transplant. In Canada, the number of people waiting for a lung transplant has doubled in the past 10 years, with 252 Canadians waiting to receive a lung transplant in 2006, compared to 119 in 1997. Two hundred and ninety-nine (299) Canadians died while waiting for a lung transplant between 1997 and 2006. It is estimated that the number of donor organs available for lung transplants could easily be doubled with this technique to treat and improve donor lungs.

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

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Double-lung transplant recipient Marilyn MacKay dies

Our deepest sympathies and condolences go to the family of Marilyn MacKay. Read my previous post about the plight of Marilyn and the financial hardships she faced in order to get a life-saving lung transplant.

GREG MCNEIL
The Cape Breton Post

SYDNEY, Nova Scotia — The story of a Louisdale woman who waited two years in Ontario before receiving a double-lung transplant has taken a tragic turn.

Marilyn MacKay, who suffered through financial hardship during that wait, died early Tuesday morning in Toronto, just six days after receiving her new lungs.

“They were trying to deal with their own personal issues, but they always had helping others in mind,” Louis Brill, president and CEO of the Lung Association of Nova Scotia, said shortly after learning of MacKay’s death.

Brill was referring to an aid package for Nova Scotians that was recently created because of financial struggles the MacKay family endured while Marilyn awaited her operation.

Lung transplants are not available in Nova Scotia, so the MacKays were forced to exhaust much of their life savings waiting in Ontario for the procedure.

Their situation improved in December 2008 when the provincial government extended emergency funding of $1,500 per month to help pay her accommodations in Toronto while she waited for the operation.

That aid is now available to other families.

“It is not easy to ask (for help) and it wasn’t easy for them, but they did it for their immediate need and for the good of others. You’ve got to applaud that and celebrate it. I just wish it didn’t end this way.”

Others in similar situations have told Brill that if they didn’t have the support that Nova Scotians now are provided, they would have come home.

“To say (the MacKays) played a role in something that was important when they were in a very, very difficult situation is very fair and correct.” That assessment is shared by Richmond MLA Michel Samson, who expressed his deepest sympathy and admiration to the MacKay family.

“Marilyn was able to shed some light on a health-care issue that affects many Nova Scotians,” Samson said in a release. “The strength, courage and determination shown by Marilyn and Ken will provide financial help to many Nova Scotia families seeking out-of-province medical attention in the future.”

MacKay’s family in Ontario confirmed her death but wasn’t ready to comment Tuesday afternoon.

Ken MacKay, Marilyn’s husband, is planning to offer a statement at a later date.

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

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kidneys illegally sold online

By Hu Yongqi (China Daily)

Kidneys are being freely traded on the Internet which is functioning as a medium for sellers and the organ brokers who are gaining huge profits. Internet sites are flooded with people who want to make extra money by offering their kidneys, which can be sold for 40,000 yuan ($5,900) to 60,000 yuan.

Two major online forums http://www.02066.com.cn and http://www.as.2sun.cn, are operating for organ brokers in dozens of cities across the country, including Beijing, Tianjin, Zhengzhou and Shangqiu in Henan province, Hangzhou in Zhejiang province, Dongguan in Guangdong province, Changchun in Jilin province and Hefei in Anhui province.

More than 1 million people need kidney transplants every year in China but only 1 percent of them undergo the surgery because of the nation's organ shortage, according to official statistics. Experts say four out of every five patients die while waiting for a suitable match.

Humans are born with two kidneys, but a person is able to live normally with only one.

Ministry of Health officials said the trade in human kidneys is illegal, and pointed to the creation of a new database that has been designed to make organs available to the approximately 1 million Chinese waiting for transplants. The database began as a pilot project in some areas, including Shanghai, in September.

A broker named Xiao Wei in Beijing said the market needs kidneys from people with A, B, and O blood types. Sellers need to undergo medical testing to prove they are healthy. Fees for physical tests and surgeries are covered by the brokers.

However, the purchasers usually have to pay brokers 130,000 yuan for one kidney.

"We have connections with hospitals and doctors, so sellers will be safe during and after the surgery," Xiao told China Daily yesterday.

Almost all of their transplants in Beijing are done in top hospitals with organ transplant licenses. The purchasers can decide where to have the surgery, he said.

An agent surnamed Liu in Xingtai, Hebei province, said he can arrange kidney transplants for foreign patients as well. "I did it for several foreigners and whatever we do will go undetected," Liu said.

A 27-year-old man said online in August that he intended to sell his kidney to save his brother's life. "I needed money but I was not able to get 100,000 yuan in a few days," he said. "I heard it's OK with my body to cut out one of my kidneys, so I decided to do it."

People who suffer from kidney failure need another kidney that is healthy and matches their blood type.

Chen Shi, a professor in medicine at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, said the illegal trade must be banned to protect people's rights.

"Organ donations should be greatly encouraged to solve the organ shortage nationwide," he said.

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

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Monday, October 26, 2009

H1N1 Flu Challenges Heart and Lung Transplants

By Michael Smith, North American Correspondent, MedPage Today

The pandemic H1N1 flu poses special problems for people getting heart and lung transplants, according to an advisory from the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation.

The pandemic virus "highlights unique aspects of transplant care that will require heightened vigilance in coming months," according to Lara Danziger-Isakov, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital, and colleagues.

"Aggressive diagnosis and early treatment" will need to be paired with active preventive measures to lessen the impact of the pandemic on the transplant population, she and colleagues wrote online in the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation.

Among the key elements:
  • Transplant patients should get both the seasonal trivalent inactivated flu vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine as soon as possible.

  • Avoid using live, attenuated seasonal trivalent vaccine (FluMist nasal spray) with transplant candidates and recipients, as well as their care providers.

  • Both seasonal and flu vaccines can be given soon after transplant, but caregivers should be aware that vaccination soon after transplantation may only be partly protective.

  • Potential donors should have nasopharyngeal and throat swabs for the H1N1 virus before the organs are harvested.

  • The preferred test for all flu infections, including the pandemic virus, is real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR).

  • A negative result on a rapid influenza detection assay does not exclude diagnosis of pandemic flu infection.
The turnaround time for rRT-PCR is up to 48 hours, plus travel time in some cases, the researchers said.

Especially when it comes to evaluating donors -- where time is of the essence -- the long turnaround is "a concern" and highlights the need for faster tests, they said.

Aside from vaccination, Danziger-Isakov and colleagues said, caregivers can also consider postexposure prophylaxis and prolonged seasonal prophylaxis, both with oseltamivir (Tamiflu).

In the case of prolonged prophylaxis, caregivers should be aware that oseltamivir resistance in the H1N1 flu is rare, but cases have been identified, many in immunocompromised patients.

If a potential donor dies of confirmed H1N1 flu, Danziger-Isakov and colleagues said, neither the lungs nor heart should be used for transplantation.

In some cases, a donor with confirmed H1N1 flu might die of another cause, they said. In those cases, the lungs should not be used, but the heart may be, at the discretion of the transplanting medical team.

The same is true for potential donors with suspect cases of the pandemic flu, they said.

On the other hand, both the lungs and heart of a donor with a history of the H1N1 flu who received at least five days of treatment can be used, they said.

Primary source: The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Source reference:
Danziger-Isakov LA, et al "The Novel 2009 H1N1 influenza virus pandemic: Unique considerations for programs in cardiothoracic transplantation" J Heart Lung Transpl 2009; DOI: 10.1016/j.healun.2009.10.001.

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

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Friday, October 23, 2009

First and longest living transplant survivor an inspiration to other cystic fibrosis patients

Colleen Kohse is believed to be the longest living cystic fibrosis patient/survivor of a double heart/lung transplant. She went to England in 1989 for that and is celebrating two decades of good health. She is here with her Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog named Bandit.
Photograph by: Ian Smith, Vancouver Sun

BY PAMELA FAYERMAN, VANCOUVER SUN

VANCOUVER -- Exactly 21 years ago, Vancouver resident Colleen Kohse became the first Canadian with cystic fibrosis to have a double lung and heart transplant. Today, she is the longest-living CF transplant survivor in the country.

But apart from that, she’s an inspiration to hundreds of patients in B.C. with the hereditary disease, who face drastically shortened life expectancies (37 is the median) unless they get a lung transplant when their own organs have been ravaged by repeated infections. Last year, there were only enough donors for a handful of CF patients to get transplants.

Kohse was just 29 when she went to England, where she and her Langley friend and fellow CF patient Brandy Reich were on a waiting list for transplants at one of the few hospitals in the world where such operations were pioneered.

At a time when all her friends were getting married, starting families and careers, she was told she had only months to live without a transplant. “Here I was, winding down my life like an 80-year old person trying to get their affairs in order. It’s a horrible feeling when everyone is starting life and I was finishing mine,” she said at the time.

That’s when she decided to put all her faith in a British surgeon who had, at that time, done the procedure perhaps 30 times before: cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Magdi Yacoub, who was knighted by the Queen in 1992.

Though Kohse’s heart was healthy, Yacoub removed it during the six-hour operation and replaced it with one from a young British man who had died in a car accident. Heart transplants are no longer part of the procedure for CF patients but two decades ago, the whole harness of lungs and heart was transplanted in the belief it would result in a higher success rate, Kohse said.

Her heart was given to a man from Greece who lived another 17 years after his transplant.

Kohse, who lost a sister and a brother to CF, admits she was gripped with fear, but she took solace in the fact that if she was to die after her transplants, she’d be happy knowing that her last act was saving another life. In an interview at the time, her dad, Fred, told The Vancouver Sun: “She thinks it’s quite amusing that she got a British heart and lungs transplanted by an Egyptian-(born) surgeon and gave her Canadian heart to a Greek man.”

During her hospital stay, she got a congratulatory call from then prime minister Brian Mulroney and his wife, Mila, a great advocate for CF patients, she recalled Wednesday.

In the decades since her transplant, Kohse has lost count of the many CF friends she has lost, including Reich, who died soon after her own transplant at the same hospital.

“Fifty is considered old age for CF. Transplantation isn’t a cure for CF; it’s an end-stage treatment. It gives us not just a longer life, but a new life,” Kohse said in an interview.

Her health today is very good, an amazing feat consistently noted by her doctors.

“I take about 30 pills a day, including immunosuppressants that all transplant patients have to take for the rest of their life, and then some enzymes to improve the digestive issues that CF patients have. My lungs are still fine,” she said.

Joyce Taylor, manager of the Lower Mainland chapter of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, said Kohse is one of about 30 B.C. CF patients still living after a transplant. About a year after Kohse got her B.C. government-paid transplants in Britain, Vancouver General Hospital opened its transplant unit so B.C. residents wouldn’t have to leave the country. Some patients still must go to Toronto because of shorter waiting lists and facilities that handle higher risk or more unusual procedures.

There are currently 10 CF patients waiting for transplants, and many look to Kohse for hope.

“We’re very proud of Colleen Kohse,” Taylor said. “Her survival success and quality of life helped many people with CF make the very difficult decision to start the assessment process.

“In the last few years, we’ve had a number of people die within a few years of post transplant. This has made the decision once again very difficult as patients look to Colleen and her success and then consider all those who weren’t successful. Unfortunately, for many there’s no choice and they have to hope theirs will be a success story.”

Kohse and other CF patients will be part of the annual Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation gala Nov. 7th at the Pan Pacific Hotel. Money raised will support research. For tickets and information, call 604-436-1158 or go to: http://www.65roses.ca.


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

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Stars turn out for cystic fibrosis sufferer, Jess

Jess Wales

Kentnews.co.uk

Popstar Natalie Imbruglia has starred in a concert to raise funds for a seriously ill girl desperate for a double lung transplant.

Jess Wales, 20, from Westgate in Thanet, suffers from cystic fibrosis.

But that hasn’t stopped her winning hearts with her determination to survive the debilitating condition.

The singer performed an acoustic set at the Save Jess-tival show held in Shoreditch, east London, on Friday.

It is to raise awareness of organ donation because even today, the number of people needing transplants far outstrips the availability of organs.

Jess is fighting for her life, with 11 per cent of her lung capacity left. She has waited more than four years for the operation, despite being told she would be dead in 24 months.

She met the Aussie singer last year, and the celebrity was deeply moved by Jess’s plight.

The 34-year-old said: “I told her to let me know if there was every anything I could do to help.

"I was sad to learn that Jess is now so ill and running out of time waiting for her transplant and so was delighted to be asked to take part in this gig in honour of her and to raise awareness of organ donation."

Other celebrities who have offered Jess their support include the Prime Minister’s wife Sarah Brown, comedians Dara O Briain (SEE DAVE), Bill Bailey, David Baddiel and Phil Jupitus, TV presenter Jonathan Ross and Limp Bizkit singer Fred Durst.

Jess has been running an internet campaign to encourage more and more people to sign up to donate their organs in the event of an accident so some good can come from tragedy.

Also taking to the Village Underground stage were The Yeah Yous, plus Canadian comedian Glenn Wool and Mock the Week panellist Ed Byrne.

Recently Jess attempted to complete 20 per cent of the gruelling five kilometre Adidas Challenge run in London’s Hyde Park by walking, but her condition is so bad she was not able to finish.

She relies on an oxygen supply 24 hours a day and a non-invasive ventilator to keep her lungs going when they regularly start to tire.

Jess said: “A lung transplant for me will be literally life changing. It will mean the whole world to me.”

A recent survey found 80 per cent of people agree with donating their organs, but a mere 25 per cent have actually done anything about it and signed up.

For more information see http://www.savejess.org.uk.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lung Transplant woman's second chance at life

Gina Caton

Gina Caton, a double lung transplant survivor, has made an appeal for more people to join the organ donor scheme. She is pictured with her dog Alfie.

By Peter Walsh Norwich Evening News, UK

A woman who was given a second chance at life after undergoing a lung transplant has made an emotional plea for people to join the organ donor register so others stand a chance of having their lives saved.

Less than a year ago Gina Caton, 30, a receptionist at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) who suffered from emphysema, underwent an urgent lung transplant operation without which she would have died.

Miss Caton, who has never smoked, does not know who the donor was but says she cannot thank them or their family enough for allowing her to have her life back.

Today she has called on others to sign up to become a donor and help give people in desperate need of a transplant a chance they otherwise might not get.

“I have written the family a letter just to say how grateful I am,” she said. “I wouldn't be here if that person didn't have a donor card and if that family didn't agree - they've given me a second chance. My message to anyone would be to get on the donor scheme because it does save people's lives. It's just so important.”

Miss Caton, who lives at Easton College with her partner of nine years James Wright, suffered years of problems with her health which grew progressively worse by her teenage years.

At least four times she was treated at hospital for coughing up blood from her lungs which resulted from vessels bursting inside her chest.

It was only in 1999 that Miss Caton's illness, which was previously thought to be asthma, was finally diagnosed. The former Costessey High School pupil who was adopted at a young age after spending time in care was told the condition was hereditary.

“They said the only cure would be the transplant but never said when - they said it could be years,” she said.

About three years ago Miss Caton, who has a two-year-old niece Ellie and a four-year-old nephew Ryan, was told she really needed to prepare herself for the transplant but was “so frightened” that she kept putting it off.

“It wasn't until September last year that I got seriously ill and my doctor told me that I really needed to think about it,” she said.

“I was told I wouldn't survive over the winter. The thought of not seeing my family again really scared me.”

Miss Caton, who lost her adoptive mother in 2000, had to undergo a series of tests to assess her for a transplant. That was in September last year and by November a suitable donor had been found.

On November 7 last year she underwent a lung transplant at Papworth Hospital. “The operation didn't really worry me,” she said. “It was my family I was worried about more - they were there waiting, walking the corridors.”

The operation, which took more than 10 hours, was a success and after just three weeks in hospital she was allowed back home where her family, including partner James and adoptive father Peter, cared for her.

Although Miss Caton needs to take medication daily to ensure her body does not reject the new organs, as well as monitoring her weight and temperature every day, she is back to something resembling a normal life and could not be happier.

Before the operation she could not walk a few yards without “turning blue” but now Miss Caton has discovered a new passion for walking and loves taking her dog Alfie for a run along Whitlingham Lane in Trowse.

Earlier this year she and her partner went to the Lake District where she managed to climb up and down Red Screes, a 776metre mountain between the villages of Patterdale and Ambleside.

“I've found a new passion now - I love walking and climbing up mountain's,” she said. “I just want to say thanks to my family and the NHS - they have just been absolutely wonderful and helped me so much.”

To sign up to the organ donor register call the donor line on 0300 123 23 23 or log on to the website http://www.organdonation.nhs.uk. Has your life been saved thanks to an organ donation? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

100 innings for Noah

Wendy and Dan Passero, right, listen as Andy Yazwinski talks about his grandson Noah Passero during Saturday's Festival of Softball at the Cobbs Hill Park softball fields. The 100 inning fund raising event was played in honor of eight year old Noah who passed away on April 13, 2008 while waiting for a heart transplant.

By Adrian Kraus, staff photographer Webster Post

Rochester, N.Y. - Webster's Noah Passero lived 100 months. Saturday, dozens of players remembered him with 100 innings of softball at the Cobbs Hill Park softball fields.

Diagnosed as an infant with cardiomyopathy, eight year old Noah passed away on April 13, 2008 in a New York City hospital waiting for a heart transplant.

Saturday's Festival of Softball, organized by his grandfather Andy Yazwinski, raised about $13,000 for Golisano Children's Hospital Pediatric Cardiology Fund and signed up many new potential organ and tissue donors.

See the Photo Gallery for more related photos.

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

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Good arises from personal tragedy

Life after death

By Clara Ho, Sun Media - Edmonton Sun

Brooke Kolodychuk's world came crashing down nine years ago when she and her family made the difficult decision of taking son Sean off life-support after he suffered a massive brain injury.

But she said she seeks comfort knowing his organs and tissue donations have saved several lives.

"When he died ... there was a physical pain in my heart that died and stays dead forever," Kolodychuk said. "But we look forward to hearing from recipients of his organs (through anonymous letters), knowing some good came of this tragedy and that people can continue their journey in life."

Kolodychuk was among the group of 90 organ and tissue donors, recipients and family members who gathered yesterday morning at the TransAlta Arts Barns in Old Strathcona for a candlelight service honouring those who have saved lives by donating viable organs and tissues.

Attendees lit candles and shared stories about loved ones, each person donning an emerald green sash signifying the sign of hope for organ and tissue donation. After the service, family and friends hugged and offered words of encouragement.

This was the third annual service held by the GoodHearts Mentoring Foundation, which helps raise awareness about organ and tissue donation, and provides financial support to transplant patients and emotional support to patients, donors and families.

At the vigil, Kolodychuk bravely stood before the crowd and told of losing her son, whom she remembered as an avid hockey player and loving older brother to his sister Jill.

She said the 23-year-old and his friends had been on their way to a Tragically Hip concert in November 2000 when he slid off a bannister at an LRT station and smashed his head on the concrete platform below.

Not long before his death, Sean and Jill had discussed the idea of becoming organ donors and signed their donor cards. As a result, Sean was able to donate all of his organs and many of his tissues when he died.

"Talking to someone in your family about organ donation is key," Kolodychuk said.

Silvio Dobri, one of the founders of GoodHearts, urged people to speak frankly about death with their loved ones and consider becoming organ donors.

He said there were 30 organ donors that saved 245 lives in 2008. But that year, there were still 621 people who were on the University of Alberta Hospital's organ transplant list, and 51 people who died waiting for a transplant.

"Nobody likes to talk about death," said Dobri, who had a heart transplant 11 years ago after suffering a heart attack and undergoing triple- bypass surgery. "But your gift could save someone's life."

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

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cleveland Clinic sets lung transplant record


Congratulations to the Cleveland Clinic for it's amazing achievement in advancing lung transplantation. Since this story was written they performed two more transplants as of Oct.15th bringing the total to 131 for the year. With two more months left in the year they project to complete more than 160 lung transplants before January 1st.

As the program has expanded, it continues to have wait times well below the national average. According to the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, 33.7 percent of Cleveland Clinic patients received a new lung within 30 days of being placed on the waiting list, compared with 8.4 percent nationally. Within one year, 90.3 percent of Cleveland Clinic patients receive a transplant, compared to 40.9 percent nationally.

by Mary Vanac MedCity News

CLEVELAND -- With more than two months still remaining in 2009, the Cleveland Clinic has already transplanted more lungs in one year than any other transplant center in the world.

On Tuesday, Oct. 13, the Cleveland Clinic Lung Transplantation and Heart-Lung Transplantation Program performed its 129th lung transplant - 124 single-lung or double-lung transplants, two heart-lung transplants and three liver-lung transplants.

The previous annual record (set by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) in lung transplants was 128 in 2007. At the current pace, Cleveland Clinic officials expect to reach more than160 lung transplants by the end of this year.

The increasing number of lung transplants has been part of a concerted effort to expand patient eligibility guidelines, improve collaboration among Cleveland Clinic Institutes and accept patients with complex cases who are among the sickest of the sick.

"The Clinic program is gaining a reputation of accepting patients that my have been refused candidacy at another program and now has a firmly established track record of good outcomes with high risk cases," said Marie Budev, D.O., MPH., Medical Director for the program. "It's very rare that we decline a patient and there is an honest sadness when we do. They are truly like a part of our family."

Cleveland Clinic's Lung Transplantation and Heart-Lung Transplantation Program is a multidisciplinary collaboration which includes transplant surgeons, pulmonologists, infectious disease specialists, pharmacologists, nurses, social workers, physical therapists and transplant coordinators.

More patients enlisted into the transplant program means that the need for organs has increased as well. To meet the demand, Cleveland Clinic has broadened its reach, traveling up to 3,000 miles to secure lungs. Cleveland Clinic is also accepting and improving lungs that other centers may have otherwise turned down.

Another factor in the transplant program's growth has been a streamlining of the entire process, from getting evaluated, listed and then transplanted. "There are still people dying while waiting for a lung," said Kenneth McCurry, M.D., a world-renowned Cardiothoracic Surgeon, who joined Cleveland Clinic in January, 2009.

"More can be done. More donors can be utilized than are currently being utilized. More patients can receive lungs than are currently receiving them. This year, nearly half of our transplant recipients were turned away elsewhere."

Since 2006, the annual volume of Cleveland Clinic's Lung Transplantation and Heart-Lung Transplantation Program has more than doubled, from 64 transplants in 2006 to 129 through less than 10 months of 2009.

As the program has expanded, it continues to have wait times well below the national average. According to the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, 33.7 percent of Cleveland Clinic patients received a new lung within 30 days of being placed on the waiting list, compared with 8.4 percent nationally. Within one year, 90.3 percent of Cleveland Clinic patients receive a transplant, compared to 40.9 percent nationally.


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

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

How organs are selected for transplant

There's been a lot of controversy over the British soldier who died after receiving cancerous lungs from a donor who was a heavy smoker. This report discusses why organs from smokers have been accepted for transplant and will continue to be accepted for transplant, mainly because of the shortage of donors.

Surgeons "aren't in a position in to turn down organs because they're not absolutely perfect."

By Mark Tutton for CNN

LONDON, England (CNN) -- News that a British soldier died after he received the cancerous lungs of a heavy smoker has sparked intense debate as to whether organs from people with unhealthy lifestyles should be used in transplants.

Corporal Matthew Millington, 31, died in 2008, less than a year after receiving a transplant at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire, England.

However a transplant surgeon has told CNN that smokers organs will continue to be used as long as medical services face a severe shortage of organs.

Chris Watson, vice president of the British Transplantation Society, told CNN that 49 percent of last year's lung donors in the UK were smokers.

"We're not in the luxurious position in transplantation to turn down organs because they're not absolutely perfect -- there are very few perfect organs," he said.

What should be done to encourage organ donation?

"In the case of Corporal Millington the donor had a chest X-ray, broncoscopy and a careful inspection of the lungs once they were removed," he said.

"When they found the tumor in Corporal Millington it was seven millimeters across and it was likely to have been two or three millimeters when it was transplanted. To find something that small you'd need to chop the lungs up into fine pieces, and then you can't transplant."

The UK National Health Service National Reporting and Learning Service (NRLS) recently released an alert saying it had found 11 reported incidents "relating to the condition of an organ for transplant or other errors."

One incident reported to the NRLS read: "Kidney arrived completely surrounded by fat and muscle -- nothing was recognizable. After dissection, a fatty tumor appeared on the upper pole, decision was taken to transplant anyway.

"After unclamping, there was a massive bleed from the tumor leading to urgent transplantectomy -- kidney sent to the path lab -- renal cell carcinoma... not fit for purpose."

Watson told CNN that organs are thoroughly tested for suitability before they are transplanted.

He said that once a patient has been diagnosed as brain dead and donation is a possibility, a donor coordinator will approach their family to learn more about the patient's history.

Medics ask about the donor's medical history and lifestyle. They also take a blood test and may contact the donor's doctor for more information.

But Watson stresses that medics only have a few hours between diagnosis of brain death and organ removal.

When the organs are removed the donor's body is examined for evidence of infection, cancer, or anything else that might affect decision to use an organ.

In the case of lung transplants, the donor will have a chest x-ray and broncoscopy, where an endoscope is used to examine lungs from the inside.

"The main thing is how well lungs work," Watson told CNN.

"We would check blood gases, taking a blood sample and seeing how much oxygen is dissolved in the blood to see how well lungs are working.

"If they work well and there's no evidence of any problems then we would use them, regardless of if they came from a smoker."

Watson says a biopsy is carried out on donated livers to check for any damage. He says fatty livers are common, not because the donor is overweight, but as a result of the donor having been starved in intensive care.

Different organs have different tolerances to being without a blood supply. Watson says a heart doesn't respond well to being out of the body for more than three or four hours. Livers can remain viable for around 12 hours and kidneys for about 24 hours.

Those time constraints mean medics have to make quick judgments about the suitability of donated organs, even if it that means using imperfect organs.

"We're happy to use the organs available knowing they're not ideal and we'll make the best use of them and keep them functioning as well as we can," said Watson.

"The alternative for recipients is to die, so there's really not much choice for them."

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

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Big Question: Should organs donated for transplant always come from healthy people?

This follow-up to previous posts about infected organs somehow getting through the screening process and actually being transplanted will hopefully add to the cry for more stringent controls that will prevent an unsuspecting recipient being infected with a deadly disease such as cancer.

By Jeremy Laurance The Independent

Why are we asking this now?

Matthew Millington died from lung cancer less than a year after undergoing a lung transplant. He was 31. The donor was a heavy smoker. The case, details of which emerged yesterday, has raised concerns about the screening of donors for transplants. Mr Millington, who was from near Stoke-on-Trent, was diagnosed in 2006 with an unspecified "serious lung condition" and told that without a transplant he had two years to live. He got his transplant in April 2007 and died 10 months later. An inquest into the Iraq war veteran's death concluded that he died of "complications of transplant surgery".

Why did he receive the lungs of a smoker?

Because there is a national shortage of organs for transplant and a reluctance by patients and transplant surgeons to reject any offered unless there are compelling reasons why they should be refused. Not every person who smokes develops lung cancer but everyone on the list for a lung transplant will die without the transplant. It is a balance of risk and benefit. In a statement, a spokesman for Papworth Hospital, Huntingdon, where the transplant was carried out, said: "Using lungs from donors who have smoked in the past is not unusual. During 2008/09 there were 146 lung transplants carried out in the UK. During the same period 84 people died on the waiting list. If we had a policy that said we did not use the lungs of those who had smoked, then the number of lung transplants carried out would have been significantly lower."

Are organs checked for cancer before they are transplanted?

Yes. All donor organs are supposed to be screened rigorously before transplant to check for tumours, injury and signs of damage. If cancer is present in the organ, or develops after transplant, its growth is likely to be accelerated by the use of immuno-suppressant drugs, necessary to prevent rejection of the organ. By suppressing the immune system, the drugs also remove the body's natural defences against the cancer.

What went wrong in this case?

It is unclear. Papworth Hospital said that early screening checks did not detect any sign of cancer in the lungs. But the speed with which the tumour appeared and led to Mr Millington's death is disturbing. He underwent the transplant in April 2007, the cancer was detected six months later and he died in February 2008. His wife, Siobhan, said that when he woke from the surgery his lungs felt like "two deflated balloons." Later, after the cancer had been discovered, he said to her: "They've given me a dud pair of lungs. Get me another." Papworth said it was an "extremely rare case".

Have other patients received diseased or infected organs?

Yes. A kidney sent for transplant was found to be in a poor state but was transplanted anyway. Later the patient haemorrhaged and the organ had to be removed. Further checks revealed the presence of a tumour. The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) said it had received 11 reports in which organs had been found to be unsuitable by the surgeons about to transplant them because they were infected with hepatitis or variant CJD, or there was a tumour present or there was damage as a result of trauma. Dr Kevin Cleary, medical director at the NPSA, said: "Although these numbers are small, the NPSA believes this was a significant issue for a number of NHS organisations. We shared our data with the NHS Blood and Transplant Service which is now establishing more robust systems for retrieving organs and enhancing quality."

Are any health checks made on donors?

Only limited ones. Blood is taken and tested for transmissible diseases such hepatitis, variant CJD and HIV. But there are only two conditions where donation is ruled out completely – HIV and variant CJD. Other conditions may rule out the transplant of certain organs but not of others. The decision as to whether some or all of a person's organs are suitable for transplant is made on an individual basis by a doctor, taking account of their medical history. Even people who have been turned down as blood donors may be accepted as organ donors, if for example they were turned down for specific reasons, such as having had a blood transfusion or hepatitis in the past.

So the NHS is desperate for organ donations?

Yes. There is already a critical shortage of organs and it is getting worse. The number of people needing transplants is rising every year, because of the ageing of the population and advances in medical care, but the number of donors is not. Fewer than half of those on the waiting list will get a transplant this year and around 450 will die as a result, according to UK Transplant. People worried about receiving, say, organs from a smoker should ask themselves the question: would you prefer to pass up the offer or take the chance?

Has organ transplantation been a success?

Yes. The first successful major organ transplant – of a kidney – was carried out in 1954. Today, kidney transplants are established as routine. Heart, lung and liver transplants came later and have also grown rapidly. Last year in the UK 977 lives were saved through heart, lung and liver transplants. A further 2,536 received a kidney transplant. In total, last year (2008-09) there were 3,513 organ transplants carried out – but there were still 7,877 patients on the waiting list at 31 March. The biggest constraint is the shortage of organs suitable for transplant.

Could the number of organs for transplant be increased?

The Government launched a £4.5m advertising campaign in March to boost the number of people on the Organ Donor register to 25 million – half the adult population – over the next five years. Membership is voluntary and people signing up agree to give their organs in the event of their death. In practice, however, organs are only taken with the consent of relatives, which is not always granted. Gordon Brown spoke last year of the "aching gap" between the supply of organs and the demand for them and the need to close it. More transplant co-ordinators have been hired. They talk to relatives at the time of a death, a process which experience from other countries, especially Spain, has shown can increase donations.

Are there any other ways of boosting donation?

Some people say an "opt-out" system would be better than our current "opt-in" system. An opt-out system would require people to sign a register if they did not want their organs used after their death. There would then be a presumption that everyone who had not signed the register was prepared to donate their organs. However, a taskforce appointed by the Government to examine the issue rejected the opt-out system last year. They said it could undermine the "vital relationship of trust" between doctors and patients.

Can it be right to transplant organs from a heavy smoker?

Yes

*There is a critical shortage of organs and fewer than half of those waiting will get one

*Patients awaiting lung transplants will die if they do not get one within a reasonable time

*Not all smokers develop lung cancer, and the decision whether to use their lungs is made by a specialist

No

*Patients awaiting a transplant do not expect to receive a diseased or damaged organ

*Transplanting organs from a person with a lifestyle known to damage their health is too risky

*Donors are already screened for diseases such as HIV and variant CJD and should be screened for smoking too.

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

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Alert in UK over donor organs riddled with cancer, mad cow disease and hepatitis

Donor organs for transplant have been found to be infected with deadly diseases, carry cancerous tumours and have been too damaged to use, an alert to the health service has warned.

By Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor Telegraph.co.uk.

Doctors reported one instance where a kidney arrived for transplant in a poor state but the operation was carried out anyway only for a 'massive bleed' to occur from he organ meaning it had to be removed again. It was sent for testing and found to contain a cancerous tumour.

The incident prompted a search of the National Patient Safety Agency database which uncovered 11 similar reports of faulty organs.

An alert sent to the health service said other examples included `fatty’ organs, which can be caused by the donor patient being obese and fatty liver can also be caused by alcoholism and may lead to cirrhosis; the donor patient found to be infected with vCJD – the human form of mad cow disease and hepatitis B; and cuts and damage to an organ during the retrieval operation.

The report said there were also incidents relating to mismatching of tissue typing and patient identification errors.

It is not known if the transplant operations went ahead in all cases or if the recipients suffered any adverse effects.

The quality of transplant organs has been called into question before when it emerged that donations were being accepted from drug addicts due to the critical shortage.

There are around 10,000 people on the waiting list for an organ transplant and around 1,000 die each year waiting for a match.

The waiting list grows by around eight per cent each year and advances in intensive care medicine and surgery mean more patients who would become donors are surviving their injuries.

Representatives from the National Patient Safety Agency called an urgent meeting with NHS Blood and Transplant, the special trust which oversees transplants, after the incidents came to light.

The report added: "There was encouraging news on very recent changes where, for the first time, there will be a robust, secure and funded national system for organ retrieval, staffed by well-trained surgeons and other healthcare professionals.

"NHS Blood and Transplant is setting up a system for monitoring the quality of organs and this will be supplemented by a photographic assessment of livers that is currently being evaluated.

"While these changes address many of our concerns, NHS Blood and Transplant strongly encourages staff to continue reporting all adverse events and any concerns about preventable harm to donated organs."

The National Patient Safety Agency database contains 3.5 million incident reports from England and Wales made by NHS staff since 2001 which can be analysed for patterns.

Keith Rigg, president of the British Transplant Society, said there has been a shift in donors with fewer young people dying of head injuries and more older people dying of brain haemorrhages which meant organs tended to be older.

But he added that all potential organs are inspected before the recipient is anaesthetised.

Mr Rigg, who is a transplant surgeon in Nottingham, added: "People are aware that quality and safety is an important issue and the cases highlighted here are a very small minority. Surgeons are careful about what they transplant and do not take unnecessary risks."

A Department of Health spokesman said: "We are committed to supporting new initiatives to optimise the number and quality of donor organs.

"Following the Organ Donation Taskforce recommendations, NHS Blood and Transplant are investing in the development a new national system for organ retrieval with a UK-wide network of highly trained organ retrieval teams, working to ensure high quality organ removal.

"This will be complemented by a new digital imaging service that allows surgeons to inspect livers online before accepting them.”

In a separate case, it was disclosed yesterday that an Iraq war veteran died after a transplant in which he was given a pair of cancerous lungs donated by a smoker.

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

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

International pact needed to prevent organ trafficking,
UN-backed study says

UN News Centre
13 October 2009 – A new, binding international treaty is needed to prevent trafficking in organs, tissues and cells (OTC), protect victims and prosecute offenders in this exploitation of the deeply impoverished, according to a joint study launched today by the United Nations and the Council of Europe.

It calls for the prohibition of financial gain from the human body or its parts as the basis of all legislation on organ transplants, adding that organ donation should be promoted to increase availability, with preference given to OTC donation from the deceased.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women Rachel Mayanja said she hoped the UN General Assembly would lay the groundwork for such a treaty expeditiously.

“This is the study that we have just launched, we hope that the study will be presented to the Assembly, and that the issue will be put on the agenda so that they can start working and debating this issue,” she told a news briefing in New York. “We would like, of course, to see work on a convention, a binding convention, start as soon as possible.”

Arthur Caplan, co-author of the study and Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Director of the Center for Bioethics of the University of Pennsylvania, stressed that money for body parts exploited the poor, who do not improve their situation post-sale or work their way out of poverty.

“The poor person is usually illiterate, not given any choice in the sense that they have no other job or occupation to make the sale, they wind up sicker, they wind up with no one paying attention to them, they sometimes wind up dead, they usually wind up regretting from the studies that we’ve seen that they did the sale because they have no follow-up,” he said.

“What looks like perhaps a chance to take somebody out of poverty winds up being a situation in which the deeply impoverished are exploited for the sale, because there is no other way for them to make a living, they can only do it once, and the people who deal with the sellers don’t care about them,” he added. “Then it violates medical ethics to be involved in practices where you harm people just so they can sell a body part.”

Summing up the legal pillars of a proposed treaty, co-author and Public Prosecutor of Austria Carmen Prior said: “Prevention, protection and prosecution.”

Trafficking in OTC should be clearly distinguished from trafficking in human beings for the removal of organs, a small part of the wider problem, the report says, pointing to widespread confusion in the legal and scientific communities between the two types of trafficking, which require different solutions.

It notes the possibility of a high number of unreported cases of both crimes, due to low risks and huge profits for perpetrators. OTC trafficking often takes the form of what is known as “transplant tourism”, with recipients travelling, usually from wealthier nations, to acquire organs in countries where measures to prevent the crime or protect live donors are not in place or not implemented.

It is estimated that 5 per cent to 10 per cent of kidney transplants performed annually around the world are the result of trafficking.

The report calls for the collection of reliable data on trafficking in OTC and in human beings for organ removal, separated by sex to assess if the problem impacts women and men differently.

The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, and the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, already contain appropriate measures to combat trafficking in human beings for organ removal.

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

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Transplant soldier given smoker's cancerous lungs

By John Downing Cambridgeshire Journal

A SOLDIER who died of surgery complications had received cancerous lungs at Papworth Hospital from a donor who smoked up to 50 roll-up cigarettes a day, an inquest heard.

After the death of Matthew Millington, 31, an investigation at Papworth highlighted several problems, including issues with communication and recordkeeping.

It found a radiographer failed to highlight the growth of a cancerous tumor.

Dr Steven Tsui, clinical director of transplant services, was not involved in the procedure but told North Staffordshire Coroner's Court there had been problems.

He said there were "a number of failures" and the team did not perform to the standard he would expect.

Cpl Millington, of Brown Lees, near Stoke-on-Trent, enlisted at 16 and served as a tank crewman, left in 2001 but was recalled in October 2005.

While in Iraq with the Queen's Royal Lancers that Christmas he was diagnosed with a lung illness.

In April 2007 he received a double lung transplant but died 10 months later as a result of damage caused by disseminated lung cancer.

A lack of communication between hospital staff meant it was not until October 2007 that a tumor, which had grown from 8mm to 13mm between June and August, was detected.

Cpl Millington's widow Siobhan told the inquest he had surgery three times in nine days due to post-operative problems.

North Staffordshire coroner Ian Smith said Cpl Millington died from "complications of transplant surgery and immuno-suppressive drug treatment".

After the inquest, Cpl Millington's father Lester said he opted for treatment at Papworth on expert advice and the family were happy with his treatment.

He said: "We have absolutely nothing against them. It is a brilliant place and they are so friendly."

A hospital spokeswoman said all donor organs are screened rigorously prior to transplantation.

She added: "Using lungs from donors who have smoked in the past is not unusual. During 2008/09, 146 lung transplants were carried out in the UK. During the same period 84 people died on the waiting list.

"If we had a policy that said we did not use the lungs of those who had smoked, the number of lung transplants would have been significantly lower."

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

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

2nd episode of Three Rivers airs tonight

Viewers will note a new episode title change: "Ryans First Day"

The Futon Critic

ANDY AND THE TEAM TRY TO SAVE A STUDENT IN NEED OF A LUNG TRANSPLANT, ON "THREE RIVERS," SUNDAY, OCT. 11 - 9:00 PM-10:00 PM EST on CBS

"Ryan's First Day" - Andy and the team try to save an 18-year-old college student in need of a double lung transplant but run into a road block that might not allow her to be eligible for a new set of lungs, on THREE RIVERS, Sunday, Oct. 11 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

SERIES REGULARS:

Dr. Andy Yablonski................ Alex O'Loughlin
Dr. Miranda Foster............. Katherine Moennig
Dr. David Lee........................... Daniel Henney
Ryan Abbott................... Christopher J. Hanke
Dr. Sophia Jordon.................... Alfre Woodard
Pam Acosta........................... Justina Machado
Lisa Reed................................. Amber Clayton

See the complete Guest Cast.

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

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Massachusetts Organ Donation Registry Opens Online

Congratulations to the State of Massachusetts for establishing an online donor registry for organ donation. In today's world of high-tech many jurisdictions around the globe are embracing online registries in an effort to increase the rate of organ donation and save many more lives. Right now, 18 people in the U.S. die each day while waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

By Elizabeth Cooney Boston Globe

For more than 20 years Massachusetts drivers have been able to register as organ donors when they renewed their driver's licenses. Now there's another way for them to let their wishes be known.

The New England Donor Registry of Donate Life New England allows adults to register as organ donors and specify which organs or tissues they are willing to give after their death, a choice not available through the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.

The online registry, which went live earlier this week, will not replace the state's program, but will create another way to potentially boost donations and transplants.

"People's expectations are 'I should be able to sign up online for anything,' so we're simply trying to be as accommodating as possible to people who want to sign up," said Sean Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for the New England Organ Bank, which has created the registry with LifeChoice Donor Services of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts and the Connecticut Eye Bank.

In Massachusetts, 41 percent of drivers are registered donors, a rate above the national average of 38 percent. But the average includes states whose driver licensing agencies don't have donor registries, and Massachusetts ranks just 32nd among states with registries. Half of the states with registries open for five years -- long enough for licenses to be renewed -- have donor rates above 50 percent.

In New England, the rate is 38 percent, not including Vermont, which is planning to start a program for drivers to register as donors, and New Hampshire, which began its driver registration program in February. As in other states, drivers in Vermont and New Hampshire could indicate their willingness to be an organ donor on their licenses, but being listed in a donor registry had not been part of the program.

More than 100,000 people in the country are waiting for a transplant, including 3,400 in New England, but there were just under 28,000 organ transplants nationally last year.

Registering for organ donation can also help family members whom potential donors leave behind when they die.

"If somebody is signed up as a donor through the registry, we work to see their wishes are fulfilled," Fitzpatrick said. "We have found that the next of kin are very appreciative when they find out the deceased had made the decision. That way they are not the ones that are left having to make decisions that they might not really know how the deceased felt about. To make this decision now is oftentimes helpful to the next of kin."

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

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Organ donation opt-out plan shelved in the UK

Health Secretary Andy Burnham yesterday shelved plans to introduce an organ donation opt-out system - saying it was not yet necessary to take such a radical measure.

by Bob Roberts Mirror.co.uk

Gordon Brown (British Prime Minister) has backed a "presumed consent" system where doctors are allowed to take organs after a patient's death unless they have signed a declaration forbidding transplants. But Mr Burnham said the idea was on the "back burner" because other measures had increased the supply of donor organs.

He added: "It means we do not yet need to think about more radical options to boost donor rates." (Read the in-depth article by Health Secretary Burnham).

A publicity campaign has seen a million more people signing up as potential donors and 200 more donating organs.

If you want a donor card ring 0300 123 23 23 or visit http://www.organdonation.nhs.uk

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

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant.