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Sisters Carol and Tracey Playfair recover together after surgery. Tracey donated a kidney to save Carol’s life.
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This is the SIXTH of a series on human organ donation/transplantation I will be posting on this blog. Why will I be doing this? Because I am convinced that the transplantation of human organs is BIG BUSINESS. While it illegal to buy and sell human tissue and human organs for transplantation, it is legal for individuals to donate their tissue and organs to be transplanted into other persons who desperately need such transplanted tissue and organs in order to live a better life and in many cases, such transplanted tissue and organs are necessary for the recipient to stay alive.
While it is illegal to buy and sell human tissue, donated tissue and organs when transplanted in recipients produce a lot of money for the doctors making the removal or the insertion of tissue and organs and for the medical facilities, hospitals or clinics. Transplant operations can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Obviously then it is not unreasonable to describe the medical practice of removal and/or transplantation as BIG BUSINESS.
According to Transplant Living, the average total cost of a single heart transplant in 2007 was $658,800. This figure includes the cost of obtaining a donor heart, at an average of nearly $90,000, about $23,000 in evaluation fees, $40,000 for doctor’s fees, $383,000 in hospital costs, $93,000 in post-operative care, and over $29,000 for immunosuppressive prescription medications. Transplants that involved both a heart and a lung cost an average of $874,800, while heart and kidney combination transplants cost an average of $758,700.
Donors of tissue and organs act out of compassion. The same cannot be said of the health care industry. Example: last year the Chinese government brought charges against local officials in the western region of China who were systematically putting political dissidents in prison and then executing them in a mobile medical facility where their tissue and organs were removed and shipped throughout China where wealthy Chinese paid hundreds of thousand dollars for organ transplants. That practice is not confined to China but is present more or less in many countries.
While such a violation of human rights probably does not occur in the United States, there is illegal trafficking in tissue and organs. What immediately concerns me is the suspicion that the interest of the health care industry and tontos utiles promoting legislation such as the currently pushed Texas Senate Bill 303 and the Texas House Bill 1444 is that such legislation promotes the ‘third way’ for passive euthanasia. Simply put, it is so easy for trained health care personnel to have a naive patient check off boxes on a document like a POLST document that both authorizes withdrawal of treatment (including nutrition and hydration) and the donation of the patient’s organs. George Orwell is probably nodding his head when he hears some proponents of ‘palliative care’ push their agenda; he warned us to look behind the meaning of words.
Organ Donation Organizations
Organ donation is a very complicated and well-coordinated process. At any given moment, organs become available, and a series of individuals, groups and organizations must swing into action. Organs cannot be stored, and most die within 4 to 24 hours of being removed from the human body. In order to maintain a streamlined, efficient and lawful process, several nonprofit entities have been established to facilitate organ donation.
Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) are federally designated, nonprofit local entities throughout the United States. They’re responsible for organ donor awareness, donor recruitment and evaluation, organ removal and its subsequent transportation. Each state has its own OPO, often with a central location as well as satellite offices throughout the state. When a patient dies, hospitals are required to contact the local OPO. A representative determines whether the person is registered as an organ donor and if his or her organs can be used. If consent is given — either by the patient prior to death or by the next of kin after the patient’s death — the OPO collects the donor’s relevant medical history and arranges to have the organ or organs removed from the body in the operating room, packaged and shipped to the receiving hospital.
The United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) is responsible for placing donated organs as well as maintaining the national waiting lists for them. It’s based in Richmond, Va., and is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. On an average day, organ placement specialists at UNOS find 15 recipients for organs, match 12 organ donors with local OPOs and take 350 phone calls relating to organ donation and transplantation logistics.
In 1984, the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), a unified transplant network, was established. UNOS is responsible for administering the OPTN. The OPTN collects organ donation and transplantation data, drafts organ transplant policies and maintains a national computer network that matches donors with recipients. The OPTN maintains organ waiting lists, determines who has priority on the lists in each individual case and contacts the appropriate transplant hospitals.
The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) is a statistical database for organ transplant information. The SRTR maintains data on every facet of the donation and transplantation process that it collects from hospitals, the OPTN and local OPOs. This information is used by researchers, analysts, doctors and policy-makers to determine priorities and possible improvements in the organ donation process. The database is maintained by the Arbor Research Collaborative for Health in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Continue reading to find out the exact route your donated organ will take once it’s removed from your body.
1668: Bone graft from a dog’s skull successfully attached to a human’s head
1905: Slices of a rabbit kidney inserted into a child, improving kidney function though the child dies shortly thereafter of pulmonary congestion
1905: A cornea is transplanted to the damaged eye of a laborer, restoring sight
1906: A pig kidney is unsuccessfully transplanted into a human
1911: First vein transplant
1920: Monkey testicles successfully implanted into human
1923: Recipient of lamb kidney survives for nine days
2003: A tongue is successfully transplanted
2005: A partial human face from a suicide victim successfully transplanted onto dog-bite victim
2006: A cadaver’s penis is transplanted onto a living man