Public Health

Overhaul organ transplant network for more donations and efficiency

Surmountable Social Issues
Aug 13, 2022
5 min read
We need more organ donations to fulfill demand for transplants / iStock

Issue 30 • Week of August 7, 2022

August is National Minority Donor Awareness Month – an annual reminder that people of color are up to 4x more likely to need a kidney or liver transplant. In fact, there are over 100,000 Americans on the waiting list for an organ or tissue transplant of some kind and 60% of those in need are minorities. Yet 26,000 organs go wasted annually and up to 33 people die every day waiting for a transplant that never comes, even though a single organ donor can save up to 8 lives.

America remains a pioneer in organ transplant procedures. However, most people know nothing about how the waiting list is managed and the financial burdens of being a donor until unfortunately they or someone close to them needs a transplant, which is quite likely since 1 in 20 Americans will need one at some point in their lives. Half of them will not get matched with a donation in five years, which is often too late.

Senators held fiery hearings last week where bipartisan scorn highlighted the lackluster results of a 2 1/2 year study into the non-profit network which manages organ donations for transplants.

What medical advances can we celebrate and how can we make our system more equitable and efficient?

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