Thursday, November 15, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Selected headlines from around the world

Organ patients' spread of HIV probed
Organ recipients unaware of risk
The Chicago Tribune posts a follow up story on whether four Chicago patients who contracted HIV from organ transplants could have passed on the disease during the months when they were unaware of their infections.

The four patients contracted HIV and hepatitis C from an infected donor in January and did not know of the potential risk to their partners and close contacts until they tested positive for the diseases in the last two weeks. The infected donor had not tested positive for the diseases, likely because the infections were too recent to register on screening tests, officials believe.

The risk to others could have been reduced had the hospitals tested the organ recipients soon after their transplants, said Dr. Matthew Kuehnert, director of blood, organ and tissue safety with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read the full article.

Organ donor awareness topic of senior luncheon at Pioneer Career and Technology Center
The News Journal of Mansfield, Ohio has a nice article about high school students promoting organ donation awareness. Read the story.

Medical definition of death tested by organ donations
The Daily Progress in Charlottesville, Virginia has an article about the criteria for determining brain death of a potential organ donor. There continues to be some ambiguity about at what moment someone is brain dead and various states have different criteria. Read the article.

Higher-risk Kidneys May Help Solve Organ Shortage Facing Older Adults
Science Daily reports that new research from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center suggests that age alone shouldn't be a barrier to receiving a kidney transplant -- and that using donated kidneys that would once have been discarded may help alleviate the burgeoning organ shortage among older adults. Read the story.

The nightmare scenario of organ donation
The National Catholic Reporter discusses the recent case of Ruben Navarro.

Navarro died in February 2006, just six days shy of his 26th birthday, in a hospital in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Suffering from a degenerative genetic disease, Navarro lapsed into a coma and eventually lost his pulse. His mother decided it was time to let her son go, and told doctors to discontinue his ventilator. Informed that he was a candidate to be an organ donor, she consented to a procedure known as “donation after cardiac death,” in which Ruben would be wheeled into an operating room, removed from his ventilator and allowed to die, at which point a team of transplant surgeons would swiftly remove his organs.

In theory, Navarro’s care was supposed to remain the paramount concern of the medical team until he was actually dead, with transplant surgeons stepping in only after death had occurred. In reality, a Kaiser Permanente specialist who had flown in to perform the procedure repeatedly directed nurses to administer massive doses of sedatives. Within 40 minutes, Navarro’s levels of morphine and another painkiller soared to 20 times above normal dosages. The sedation served no medical end, prosecutors would eventually conclude, other than to hasten Navarro’s death so his organs would remain viable.

“Many of us have reviewed our policies and procedures because of it,” said Jesuit Fr. Peter Clark, director of the Institute of Bioethics at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. For example, Clark said, there’s a need for a uniform standard of how long one has to wait with a “donation after cardiac death” case to pronounce the donor dead; current practice varies from 75 seconds to 10 minutes. 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

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