Ethical Considerations OPTN Transplant Wait List

2000-2010 Transplant Wait List Stats: Why the Duplicity?

It seems that all media coverage regarding organ transplants emphasizes the number of folks on the waitlist, and the so-called growing organ shortage. So I thought sharing some of the slides from OPTN’s recent presentation at the spring region meetings might be illustrative. (click on the slides to make them larger; just remeber to hit your back button to return to the blog)

FYI: kidneys compromise approximately 3/4 of the waitlist.

I talk a lot about ‘actives’ versus ‘inactives’ on the waitlist and how the inactives bloat the true number of folks in need of an organ. Here’s some evidence to prove my point. Remember: inactives aren’t eligible for a transplant even if an organ becomes available.

Also: candidates are individual people; registrations include all the duplicats. Think Steve Jobs. The official waitlist count repeated everywhere is registrations, not candidates.

I could pontificate on how OPTN should be more transparent with the public about the real need in this country for organs, but I’m certain I’ve done that elsewhere. In fact, so have other, high profile members of the media (Rob Stein), but last fall, OPTN decided to keep the status quo.

Because it works for them. It garners public sympathy, and helps the transplant centers persuade would-be recipients to find themselves a living donor. Who cares about death by geography, or the lifetime of health risks a living donor assumes? It’s not like the surgeons have to live with the consequences of either one, right?

One reply on “2000-2010 Transplant Wait List Stats: Why the Duplicity?”

Wow, there are some huge discrepancies between what is publicized and the "real" numbers I had no idea! As always, thanks for sharing this.

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