Friday, September 28, 2007

Financing a transplant

Transplant Living in the United States has published a comprehensive breakdown of the costs associated with a transplant. It is an eye-opener for both patients and families going through a transplant. The charts break costs down separately for the various organs.

The article notes that the cost of a transplant, including preliminary testing, the surgery itself and post-operative recovery costs vary across the country by hospital and organ type. Because these costs start adding up, even before your transplant, it is common for patients to rely on several sources to help pay for all of the medical and non-medical costs of pre- and post-transplantation. For example, billed costs for a double-lung transplant is $543,900 according to the chart. This is billed charges only for the first year following a transplant. Then there's all the other costs to consider as described below. See the chart for costs related to other organs.

    Medical costs include:
  • insurance deductibles

  • insurance co-pays

  • pre-transplant evaluation and testing

  • fees for the recovery of the organ from the donor

  • follow-up care and testing

  • additional hospital stays for complications

  • fees for surgeons, physicians, radiologist, anesthesiologist and recurrent lab testing

  • anti-rejection and other drugs, which can easily exceed $2,500 per month

  • rehabilitation

  • Non-medical costs include:
  • food, lodging and long distance phone calls for you and your family

  • transportation, to and from your transplant center, before and after your transplant

  • plane travel to get to your transplant hospital quickly
    child care

  • lost wages if your employer does not pay for the time you or a family member spends away from work

  • If your transplant center is not close to your home, lodging close to the center before and after your surgery. Some centers offer free or low-cost hospitality houses for you and your family.

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

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Every day there seems to be more and more articles about organ and tissue donation and transplantation. These are a few selected stories from around the world.

Lung transplant has brave Imogen jumping for joy
Australia's Herald Sun tells a heartwarming story about Imogen Oulton, 9, whose life was saved by a double lung transplant.

The article says it's almost impossible to believe a month ago Imogen was struggling with what might have been her last breaths. With time running out and a child-sized set of donor lungs not available, surgeons had no choice but to cut an adult set of lungs down to size to fit her smaller chest. Read the full story.

Family returns favour after years of transplants
Australia's Herald Sun posts a story about MYLES Caruana, 15, who understood more than most just how precious the gift of organ donation could be.

Five of the teenager's uncles and aunts had received life-saving organ transplants after a hereditary kidney disease swept through almost an entire generation. Then, sadly, Myles suffered a severe asthma attack and passed away. His family donated his tisues (his organs were too deterioated for transplant) knowing that Myles would have approved. Read the full article.

"But we'd had that conversation (about organ donation) as a family, and after seeing first-hand what a phenomenal difference it could make to someone's quality of life, there was really no other choice for any of us."

Organ relay is off and running
Canada's Toronto Sun tells about Dylan McIntosh, 16, who can't wait for his turn in this year's Save Our Sick 4000 cross-country torch run to raise awareness about organ donation -- and to pay tribute to his friend Manny Castillo.

Manny, a 15-year-old Grade 10 Lorne Park Secondary student, was critically injured during a rugby match this spring. His donated organs saved five lives.

As of yesterday, hundreds of youth started off in an eight-month, cross-country torch relay from St. John's, Nfld., to Iqaluit, Nunavut, to raise awareness about organ donation. Read the article

Melanie hopes for a better life
From the National Web Site of Wales comes the story of MELANIE DARK who spends two hours every day attached to a machine. It has been this way for the past 10 years as she waits for a kidney transplant.

The 45-year-old mother-of-one and her family have had to adjust their lives to the kidney disease, and the machine, which regulates Melanie’s life.

Her kidney failure and her dependence on haemodialysis not only dictate where she can go on holiday, but what she can eat and how much she can drink.

The article also has a good discussion about organ donation rates in Wales and the issue of an Opt-out system presently being considered for the U.K. Read the full article.

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

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Alan Dow's Passing

Alan & Lois Dow

Alan & Lois Dow, Lung Transplant Christmas Party, Toronto General Hospital, December, 2006

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Alan Dow as announced by his wife Lois in the notice below, who passed away before matching donor lungs became available. He was on the waiting list for a lung transplant since the summer of 2006. I became good friends with Alan and Loie my heart is heavy today. Please join me in expressing our deepest sympathy and condolences to Loie and family. Merv.

“Hello Everyone: I wanted to let you know that my Alan, the love of my life passed away this morning at 5:30 am (Sept. 25, 2007)after a very tough struggle with the idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Landyn, our son was with me as he has been through it all and Susie, my friend from back home has been so good to come and help when we were doing the round the clock care for Alan. He was so courageous and strong and I am so proud of him. I know he is at peace and is not suffering. Unfortunately his match for lungs did not come in time.

We thank the Toronto General Hospital Lung Transplant Team of Doctors, Respirologists, Surgeons, Nurses, Physiotherapists and everyone else who has helped us along the way in hopes of the gift of life miracle.

Alan will be resting at the Fawcett-McEachern Funeral Home* in the town of Durham on Thursday from 2 to 4 pm and 7 to 9 pm and the funeral will be on Friday, September 28th at 1 pm at our Church, the Durham Presbyterian, with interment at Durham Cemetery. There will be lunch following at the Durham Legion afterwards.

On behalf of Alan and myself, I send our love and caring to all our Dear Dear Friends who have been so kind and made us feel so loved. You all certainly are like family to us and for that we were always so thankful and I still am.

We wish you all the best- to our pre and post transplant friends.
Please know we are thinking of you all and send our love. Thank you for everything. May God Bless.

Love Loie and Alan in spirit.”

*Fawcett- McEachern Funeral Home 124 Garafraxa St. S Durham, Ontario Canada N0G 1R0 Phone : (519) 369-3540
Fax : (519) 369-5835)

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

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Friday, September 21, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Here are a few more selected headlines from around the world on organ donation and transplantation.

The topic of "presumed consent" is undergoing heated debate in the United Kingdom as the government considers an "opt-out" system. Health Secretary Alan Johnson has asked a Government taskforce to consider whether everyone in the country should be put on the organ donor register unless they opt out. The following articles published in the U.K. provide an overview of how the general population is responding to the idea.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson calls for review of consent for organ donation
PGH Foundation

Should consent to organ donation be assumed?
The UK Press Association.

Donation policy is under fire
The Evening Telegraph Northamptonshire, UK

Other headlines
Four share their stories of how transplants have changed their lives has an article on the state of organ donation and transplantation in Virginia and relates the stories of several people whose lives have been transformed one way or another by organ donation. It points out that one donor can save up to 7 lives and tells of how one donor's tissues went to 66 people, including 2 heart valves that went to children. Read the full story.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Celebration of Life
Toronto, Thursday, October 18, 2007

Note: As of Oct 16/07 this event is booked to capacity and RSVPs are no longer being accepted
The date for The Celebration of Life to honor donors and donor families has been changed from September 27, 2007 to Thursday, October 18, 2007 per this announcement from Mae Herrera, Family Services Advisor at Trillium Gift of Life Network. Please mark your calendars. Thanks.

“I want to apologize for the change of date, once again, for the Celebration of Life. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we had to move the date from September 27 to October 18. This time, it is the actual official date.

I am happy to inform you that the Celebration of Life will be on Thursday, October 18, 2007 at the Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto (University of Toronto campus). The event details will be posted on the TGLN Event Calendar at TGLN Web Site for all interested parties such as transplant recipients, organ donor and transplant coordinators, and donor families.

There will be a medal presentation at this year's event for donor families of 2006. Please be advised that seating is reserved for donor families who will be receiving medals. Additional seating is available but limited to the first 200 people (including their guests) to respond. Please RSVP with your name and number of seats requested by sending an email to Celebration of Life or by phone 416-619-2313. Please RSVP by September 21, 2007 to assure getting a seat. I've attached a Pdf File of the event.” Mae Herrera, Family Services Advisor, Trillium Gift of Life Network."

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

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Audrey Schmidt's passing

Audrey Schmidt
Please join me in expressing our sincere sympathy and condolences to Gerald Schmidt and family on the passing of his wife Audrey at Toronto General Hospital, Sunday, September 16th. Audrey had been suffering from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and was on the waiting list for a lung transplant for quite some time. Unfortunately donor lungs did not become available in time to save Audrey's life. I got to know Audrey and her husband Jerry (Gerald) and they both kept their hopes alive with a positive outlook to the very end.

Audrey is resting at the Gilbert MacIntyre & Son Funeral Home (Hart Chapel), 1099 Gordon Street, Guelph where the family will receive friends on Wednesday, September 19 from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. A funeral mass will take place at St. Joseph's Church, 409 Paisly Road, Guelph, on Thursday, September 20, 2007 at 10 a.m.

As expressions of sympathy, donations by cash or cheque to the Lung Transplant Program at Toronto General Hospital would be appreciated by the family (cards available at the funeral home 519-821-5077) or send condolences on line at Gilbert & MacIntyre & Son where you can also find the official obituary notice and directions.

Transplant Headlines

There's been numerous news items recently and here are a few selected organ donation and transplant headlines from around the world.

Woman must raise $15,000 to even be put on organ transplant list
This article in the Danville (Virginia) Register highlights the plight of a patient in desperate need of a lung and liver transplant. However, due to her modest financial circumstances she must raise $15,000 just to be put on the transplant waiting list. Read the full story.

Drive for organ donations prompts criticism (California).
The local case against a transplant surgeon comes as donation agencies nationwide intensify their efforts.

As criminal proceedings move forward against a Bay Area transplant surgeon charged with trying to hasten a potential organ donor’s death at a San Luis Obispo hospital, no one thinks the case is typical.

But it comes as transplant advocates are becoming increasingly aggressive in their efforts to procure hearts, livers, kidneys and other organs in the hope of saving more of the thousands of desperate Americans who die, having languished on waiting lists.

It represents the worst fear of some doctors, nurses and medical ethicists — the extreme end of a spectrum of practices that are raising alarm in hospital wards, emergency rooms and intensive care units around the country. Read the full story.

Court backs ministry directive to prevent organ sales abroad
The Jerusalem Post in Israel reports on a directive issued by Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Avi Yisraeli forbidding the health funds from financing the sale of transplant organs abroad received legal backing on Monday from the High Court of Justice.

The ruling was described by the ministry as a "signal of normative values at the highest level" that could serve as a precedent on the issue, even regarding possible Knesset legislation in the future.

According to the ministry, the ruling stated that the marketing of organs for transplant, including for money, which encourages their sale by people who are in distress, is morally wrong. Read the full story.

Special band
From the Burlington County Times (Philadelphia area) comes this heartwarming story of a life being transformed by an organ transplant.

Kim Montalvo wants people to know that dreams really can come true.

Anyone who doubts that notion can look to her as living proof, she said. It has been almost seven years since she received the kidney transplant that vastly improved her quality of life. That surgery came after a long time of uncertainty spent on an organ donor list, while undergoing regular dialysis treatment. With Montalvo's condition deteriorating due to kidney disease, a transplant was her only hope.

But, for the Mount Laurel resident, a hope of receiving a donor kidney wasn't her only dream to come true.

After being on dialysis for four years and facing other serious health problems, including dropping down to 87 pounds at one point, Montalvo is now in good health and following her longtime desire to sing professionally. As the lead singer in the Special K Band — the “K” stands for kidney — she is sharing her dream of making music with Daniel Caruso, a drummer and backup singer.

He also happens to be her kidney donor. Read the full article.

Organ donors band together
The SVG Tribune from SAn Gabriel, California has a report on a group that offers a shorter waiting list for organ transplants but so far none of the 10,000 members has been declared brain-dead to qualify as an organ donor.

Cameron Akrami of Glendora and Madelon Peck of Altadena joined LifeSharers for one main reason: so that if another member died while they needed an organ donation, Akrami and Peck would be at the top of the list to receive the benefits.

It's a morbid description, but the charity seeks to reward postmortem generosity: All the members agree to donate their organs upon their death, with preference given to anyone in the group who needs them.

LifeSharers has never been put to the test - since forming in 2002, none of its 10,000 members has been declared brain dead, the main way organs can be preserved long enough for donation.

Nevertheless, the group's membership grows every year, and has about 50 members in the greater San Gabriel Valley, including residents of Pasadena, Glendora, La Habra, Diamond Bar, South Pasadena, Covina, San Dimas and several other local cities.

While some established state and federal organ donation coordinators do not endorse the organization, members are big boosters. Read the complete article.

Understanding India’s Kidney Bazaar has a comphrensive look at the practice of selling one's kidney in India. Although laws have been passed to prevent the commercial sale of organs, they go largely ignored and the practice continues. Read the full story.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Transplant Headlines

These are a few selected headlines from this weekend's transplant news from around the world.

Organ Transplants Seen as Treatment in HIV/AIDS Patients
It has long been believed that organ transplants were not a viable option for HIV patients. Now, because of the use of new clinical approaches, there have been good results in HIV patients who need kidney or liver transplants. This article in Associated notes that side effects from drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS patients can cause toxic effects to the kidneys and liver and now transplants are more feasible for these patients. Read the full article.

Unique residence a sanctuary to those waiting for organs
This posting in tells about an affordable residence in Montreal, Quebec for out-of-town patients waiting for a transplant.

La Maison des greffes is unique in Canada. It provides clean, comfortable, $15 rooms for people who are waiting for a transplant and aren't from Montreal. The residence is a lifesaver for people who live in far-flung corners of the province, or are from New Brunswick or Ottawa. Read the full story.

SOUTH Australia is to overhaul its organ donation system to bring rates up to international standards. reports that State Health Minister, John Hill, will host an organ donation summit of local and international experts next year to discuss ways of boosting the state's organ donation rate. This comes after Mr. Hill's visit to Spain, which has the highest organ donation rate in the world.

"The lesson I received from doctors in Spain is that the best way to increase donation rates is to support medical teams with better co-ordination and planning for organ donations," said Mr. Hill.

"The Spanish model generally is to appoint a doctor in each intensive care unit to co-ordinate donations. As part of our reform process, a senior doctor will be appointed as SA's organ donation co-ordinator." Read the full story.

Youngest organ donor saves life
This story from India, as posted in the on line version of The Hindu notes that organ donation is the newest committment of Indian soldiers. It details the heartwarming stories of several families who donated their loved ones organs. Read the full article.

Gonzalez’s kidney transplant "went smoothly"
The has posted the news about the Philippines Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, 76, receiving a kidney transplant this past Friday.

According to reports Mr. Gonzalez is doing well. Read the article as reported in the Philippine Daily Inquirer and posted on The We continue to learn of organ transplants in older patients, dispelling the myth that older patients are not suitable candidates for these life-saving operations.

Live donor scheme has no takers
The BBC reports that since Scotland permitted live liver donation last year there have been no takers for the procedure.

"Patients who need a new liver are refusing to take live donor transplants from relatives because they believe it is too risky for their loved ones."

The report notes that complications of liver transplants are higher than for kidney transplants and that about one in 200 people die from the procedure. Read the story. Note: I personally know several living liver donors and their recipients here in Canada, and the procedure is common in the U.S, Canada, Japan and some parts of Europe. Merv.

Presence of drugs doesn't stop transplants
The MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Massachusetts notes that Maxsuel Medeiros' organs could still save the lives of as many as a half-dozen people, despite the fact that the Framingham man had cocaine in his system when he died this week. The article gives an excellent overview of the testing for drugs and infection in potential donors befor organs are accepted for transplant and answers a lot of questions about the criteria used to determine the suitability of organs for transplant.

"If you're in need of a liver or a heart, and you have a couple days to live, the fact that a person might have traces of drugs in their system is less important than your dire need for a heart."

If you have an interest in how organs and tissues are selected for transplantation this is a Must read.

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

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Here are a few selected headlines from around the world.

New Limits Debated For Organ Donation

The Wall Street Journal Online discusses the proposed UNOS limits for organ donation, as outlined in this graphic by UNOS.

The article is very insightful and looks at both sides of the debate, from the opposition to the changes by surgeons and the reason for them from UNOS. Read the article.

On September 23, let's WALK to support organ donation !
This news release from Quebec, Canada is representative of how people world-wide are united in the effort to promote organ donation awareness.

MONTREAL, Sept. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - With the support and participation of Desjardins Group, The Kidney Foundation of Canada will hold a 5 km non-competitive walk on Sunday, September 23 in Dollard-des-Ormeaux to support people living with kidney disease and to promote awareness of the need of organ donation.

"We are proud to be associated with this health initiative. Our support to this event will help The Kidney Foundation of Canada raise funds in order to reduce the burden of kidney disease for patients, their family and each member of the society", declared Mr. Alban D'Amours, President and Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Group.

Come celebrate life by participating in this lasting community advocacy and long-term support for the Foundation's mission. By doing so, you will walk for nearly two million Canadians who suffer from chronic kidney disease, or are at risk, and for more than 7,000 people in Quebec, who survive thanks to dialysis or transplantation.

Register on line today at For information, please contact Philippe Vincent at (514) 938-4515, #228.

Daughter pleads for liver
Today's Toronto Sun has a story about a daughter's desperate plea to save her mother's life by asking for help in finding a living liver donor. Her mother is dying in the hospital and no family members are a match. Read the article and learn how to become a living donor and where to register as such.

Organ donation: The inconvenient truth
This extensive discussion in the Catholic Insight gives an in-depth look on organ donation by the author who suggests that it is not possible to absolutely determine that a donor has died either from brain death or cardiac death and closes his opinion with the statement "The declaration of brain death or cardiac death is not sufficient to arrive at moral certitude. The recovery of organs based on that declaration is, therefore, immoral."

By Dr. John B. Shea, MD, FRCP(C)
Issue: September 2007

Ever since organ donation after a declaration of “cardiac death” was first practised in the Ottawa Hospital in June 2006, Canadians have been subjected to an incessant drumbeat of rhetorical manipulation in the media in favour of organ donation. The following commentary is offered in order to inform the public about the truth in regard to both the moral principles and scientific facts pertaining to both the donation and harvesting of human organs for transplantation purposes. Many physicians have serious and well-considered concerns about the morality of human organ transplantation and about the fact that the general public has not been properly informed about what really happens when organs are retrieved. Read the full opinion.

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

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Here are some of today's selected headlines.

Waiting list grows for organ transplants
This item posted on Rocky Mountain notes that there are 97,000 people on the U.S. waiting list for organ transplants as of June, 2007 and this number is growing five times faster than the donation rate and that each day 17 people die while on the waiting list.

The article goes on to say that organ donation is "The ultimate act of human kindness" and notes the parents of a daughter who died from cardiac arrest donated her organs and tissues as follows: Two women received her kidneys, a burn unit received skin, her corneas went to an eye bank, and her liver was transplanted into a 61-year-old pediatric oncologist, Dr. Michael Harris, of Englewood, N.J., who had contracted hepatitis C years earlier while caring for a patient.

Other organs and tissues that can be donated are the heart, pancreas, lungs, intestines, bone marrow, heart valves and connective tissue. A kidney, part of a liver, lobe of a lung and bone marrow can be obtained from living donors.
Read the article

Polish bishops back organ donation
This item in Catholic World News further confirms the church's position on organ donation.

Warsaw, Sep. 11, 2007 ( - Poland’s Catholic bishops have written a pastoral letter encouraging organ donation, which will be read in all churches throughout the country on September 23.

In their letter, the Polish bishops cite John Paul II’s support of organ donation in Evangelium Vitae (doc) and state: “Often the possibility to save someone’s life depends on organ donation.” They then go on to note that this year, the number of organ donations has dropped in Poland.

Living kidney donor blogs about his experience
Check out Cleveland's Newsnet5 web site for NewsChannel 5's announcer Jack Marschall's daily blog about his surgery and recovery. He will be blogging from home daily and describe his thoughts and emotions as he goes through the experience of giving the "gift of life" to a fellow human being.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Here are a few of the organ donation and transplant headlines from around the world this past weekend.

Video of a living donor kidney transplant operation
A reader from Australia has posted a link to the Geelong Advertiser's video about a Geelong woman who lost 20kg/44 lbs. so she could donate her kidney to her partner. This is the stop-motion video of the amazing surgery, done with the couple's permission to raise awareness. View video.

Hollywood Gives Organ Donation a Bad Rap
This item in the Washington AFRO American, a leader in Washington and Baltimore in providing coverage about organ donations and African Americans, highlights the misconceptions and negative images about organ donation that Hollywood tends to include in their storylines. It also notes that blacks are disproportionately underrepresented in the organ donation pool.

Inaccurate Hollywood storylines are skewing the public perception of organ donation, concluded a recent study.

These plots, including organs being sold in the black market and people with money receiving higher priority on waiting lists, are untrue, according to Susan Morgan, Ph.D., associate professor of health communication at Purdue University, located in West Lafayette, Ind., and are affecting the number of people who are registering as organ donors, especially blacks.

Blacks are disproportionately underrepresented in the organ donation pool. According to Morgan, they are also the less knowledgeable about the importance of being a donor. Television shows that present negative images and ideas about organ donation "are not helping to correct this serious problem," Morgan added. Read the full story.

ER Nurse donates kidney to an anonymous recipient
This is another story about donors and recipients using the internet to find matching donors through

Read the Heartwarming story about emergency room nurse Margie Stevens-Belville who, fed up with seeing so many patients die while waiting for an organ donor, decided to become a donor herself and registered online with

CF sufferer waits for lung transplant and new nebuliser helps
This article in New Zealand's Tarankai Daily News reminds us of the constant struggle that Cystic Fibrosis patients have with a continuing battle of breathlessness, a wracking cough and low energy. Jonathan Fowler is a patient waiting for a double-lung transplant and every day he struggles for breath. But the struggle has been lessened recently with the introduction of a new nebuliser for delivering his drugs.

Jonathan (25) has cystic fibrosis (CF) - a disease he was born with and one that has seen him hospitalised about 50 times.

Fortunately, his days have been made easier lately by a modern nebuliser to administer his drugs.

Jonathan says the portable e-flow nebuliser has been "a major step forward". "With the old nebuliser, it took me about an hour a day to inhale my medication. With this it takes about 15 minutes. It's brilliant."

Read the Full article.

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

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Friday, September 07, 2007

Transplant Headlines

There's a lot of news out there today and the following items are an example of the extensive media coverage organ and tissue donation and transplantation in general is starting to receive.

Teen remembers organ donor who saved her life
This article on the Houston Chronical's web site is a heartwarming story about a teenager's reaction to seeing a picture of her kidney donor who died as a result of an accident. The story has many important implications for promoting organ donation, such as religious concerns and a donor registry just introduced in Texas. Hopefully more states and provinces will take the same initiative. It could literally save lives.

The article goes on to say:
"Registering as an organ, tissue and eye donor is easier than ever after the Texas Department of State Health Services introduced a revamped online organ donor registry this month.

The Web site, DonateLife is a one-stop shop for potential organ donors and their families. On this site, Texans can sign up to be organ donors and read all about the process.

Those interested in organ donation can register through this database. The database replaces organ donor cards and the old system of registering with the Texas Department of Public Safety during the process of obtaining or renewing a driver's license.

"There are people who stated their intentions to be organ donors years ago on their driver's licenses, but that system is no longer in use and it never worked very well," said Pam Silvestri, public affairs director of the Southwest Transplant Alliance in Dallas. "This system is foolproof. If you sign up, you're a donor. Nobody can change that but you."

Silvestri said once a person registers, it's legally binding. Before, family members could override the decision."
Read the full story.

Organ donor's wishes legally binding
From The Charlotte Observer, Sept. 6, 2007

North Carolina will soon join 44 other states in ensuring that the wishes of potential organ donors, as expressed on their driver's licenses, are respected.

A new law, which takes effect Oct. 1, makes a driver's decision to be an organ donor, as designated by a red heart on a driver's license, legally binding. Gov. Mike Easley signed the bill Friday.

In the past, the red heart indicated the driver's intention to be a donor, but it could be overturned by the owner's family. Under the new law, a family member's permission will not be needed to carry out wishes conveyed on driver's licenses.
Read the article.

'They called me Mr. Lucky'
The Derry Journal in Ireland has a story about the amazing recovery of a lung transplant recipient who was dying from sarcoidosis, a hardening of the lining of the lungs. Read the story.

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

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Transplant news headlines

With the increased awareness or organ and tissue transplantation the media has numerous articles daily from all over the world. Here's a few of today's that I found interesting. Merv.

Finding your perfect organ match online
Today's Baltimore Sun has an article about a patient, frustrated over the long wait for a kidney transplant, who typed into Google I NEED A KIDNEY and much to his surprise he received a response that resulted in a matching donor coming to his aid. Read the article.

Transplants dip as China takes criticism to heart
The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia posted a story indicating there may be a slow down in organ transplants in China because fewer prisoners are being executed for their organs. They say this is due to world criticism of the practice. Read the article.

Heart Surgery: Device Helps Patients Survive, Regain Function Until Transplant
Science Daily reports that a new generation of implanted heart-assisting pump does very well at helping severely ill heart-failure patients survive, and thrive, until they receive a heart transplant, a new study shows. The experimental device is called the HeartMate II® left ventricular assist device or LVAD. It is one of four in a new generation of heart-assisting implants that push the blood out of the heart in a continuous flow, rather than a pulsing flow approach used in older devices already on the market. Read the story.

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

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Here are a few headlines that caught my interest recently.

World Transplant Games Federation
Results of the 2007 World Transplant Games in Bangkok, Thailand are now posted at the WTGF Site. Go to Transplant games and click PDF files on the sidebar. Here's the total medal results for selected countries: UK 227, Australia 87, USA 81, Netherlands 75, Hungary 52, Thailand 63, Argentina 27, Iran 34, France 33, Ireland 35, Canada 23, Greece 18, Germany 23, Switzerland 15.

Transplant girl gets close-up of her heart
This London Telegraph article describes the reaction by 23-year-old Jennifer Sutton on seeing her own heart three months to the day after she received the heart transplant that saved her life. Her old heart is on display at a museum. Read the article.

Girl, 7, still waiting for kidney transplant
This item in Florida Today discusses the ordeal that seven–
year-old Eryn Cooper is going through while waiting for a kidney transplant. Both her kidneys were removed last year and she is one of 2,745 people in Florida waiting for a kidney transplant. She has special medical needs and the story describes the financial burden her family has to cope with and the fundraising efforts to help. Read the article.

RUSH Replaces livers in patients in their 70s, 80s
We are gradually starting to see more centers offering organ transplants to older patients. This Chicago Sun-Times piece notes that Rush University Medical Center has performed about 40 liver transplants in patients over 70 since 2002 and that they have found no difference in survival compared to younger patients over a ten-year period. Read the article.

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

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Recent transplant headlines

These are a few of the more interesting items I've come across recently. I will continue to highlight transplant news on a regular basis. Merv.

For living donors, many risks to weigh
Today's New York Times has an excellent article about living donors and the many risks they must weigh when considering becoming a living donor.
Read the article.

Transplant patients must play the waiting game
The Citrus County (Florida) Chronical has an interesting article about the ordeal patients waiting for a transplant go through while waiting for their "gift of life".
Read the article.

Lung transplants in the elderly
WISTV Online (Columbia, SC) features a news item about the changing views on cut-off ages for lung transplants in the United States. Many transplant centers have a cut off age of 60 but studies have shown that older patients recover from their transplants just as well as younger patients. (Here in Ontario patients in their 70's routinely receive lung transplants). Read the story.

Waiting for the greatest gift of all
The Independent, Dublin, Ireland has an extensive article about organ donation and patients waiting for a transplant. There is a good discussion of the controversy in the UK about presumed consent versus informed consent. And on a happy note, they announce that Dublin, Ireland has been awarded the 2010 World Transplant Games. Read the story.

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

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Sunday, September 02, 2007

A bridge to lung transplantation

The new Novalung device that surgeons at Toronto General Hospital are using to serve as a bridge to transplantation while patients are waiting for donor lungs to become available, was recently featured in a broadcast by Florida's Included is an interview with Dr. Tom Waddell of TGH along with an accompanying video. Read the full story and view the video at

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

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov