Federal Organ Donation?

Their lives are in your hands
I was just Twittering around yesterday and searched on “organ donation” to see if anyone else Twitters as much about the subject as I do. The title on one person’s message stood out: “And Now: Federal Organ Donation”.


Following the link, I came across this article “Federal organ donation plan faces local opposition” recently published in a local newspaper. I was in shock as I read through the article and realized that, indeed, the federal government wants to mandate that organs donated be sent out of the state of origin.

The current procedure of organ transplant works in a very simple and logical manner.

“Under the existing rules, the neediest and most appropriate patient in the state receives the donor organ.”

The closest hospital to the organ donor receives the first call and if no recepient can be found, then the next closest transplant hospital is called and so on until a suitable match has been found. By following this procedure, my own husband received his donated lungs from just over Lake Michigan in Detroit (we are in Milwaukee).

However, 75% of donated organs stay within the state in which the organ donor has passed. It is possible, with this new plan, that families will be less likely to donate organs if they are leaving their own state.

It seems that the government does not understand that not only will the rate of organ donors be affected but also that the viability of the organs may also suffer. Every minute an organ is in transport to a recipient – every minute it is without blood supply – its viability decreases. In essence, the longer it takes to get to its new home, the more the tissue and organ dies. This increases an already high risk for the patient for the organ to not revive or for the recipient to have transplant rejection.

The current organ donation network procedure allows for greater possibility of a long and healthy life after transplant… so why fix what is not broken?

Hospital systems are asking patients, donor families and other concerned members of the community to voice their opposition to the proposal by April 24 at www.notacoalition.org.

After her husband received a double-lung (bilateral) transplant in 2004, Shannon founded the Angel Cove Organ Donation Awareness Shop, which provides awareness t-shirts and gifts products for transplant recipients, living organ donors and donor families - giving 100% of the profits to help heart and lung transplant recipients with medical costs. Shannon lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her wonderful husband and two chocolate Labrador Retrievers.

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