So Simple So Huge

Doctors often call motorcycle riders (especially those who ride without helmets) organ donors on wheels.  They are young and healthy and are often road kill.   One problem is that they don’t die in large enough numbers.  The nation’s organ donor lists – for kidneys, hearts, and a host of other organs – continue to grow far faster than organs can be found and harvested.  The result – many many people die waiting for transplants.   They die waiting for organs not only because of the acute shortage of organs but because of the need to find a perfect match – an organ that will not be rejected by the body.   In what looks and feels like Surgery 101, a new and simple strategy is being introduced that will save lives and change transplant surgery here and abroad.  It will also significantly reduce waiting time and medical costs for those in need of transplants.

 

Many family members of those in need of transplant surgery often willingly offer their spare organs to loved ones.  The problem is, more often than not, that the organs offered do not medically match the requirements of the organs sought.  The result is that a parent, for example, is unable to offer one of his/her kidneys or a portion of the liver because it does not match the blood type and other requirements of the child

 

A Johns Hopkins surgeon is pioneering a network of friends and family (pooling their offers of organs) such that the chance of their loved ones receiving an organ increases exponentially.  It is a remarkably simple idea of huge significance.  Laura Meckler in the Wall Street Journal provided an excellent piece on this entitled “Kidney Swaps Seen as Way to Ease Donor Shortage.”

 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119240431698158666.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

 

Daniel Socolow
Daniel Socolow: President, Socolow Group. Former Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program, President of the American University of Paris, Vice President of Spelman College. BA, MA, Ph.D.

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