Living Donor Protections OPTN

Conflict of Interest – Living Donors Lose

Amy Waterson, a social psychologist, is the co-chair of the UNOS Living Donor Committee.

A quick websearch brings up the following page. On it are linked many articles where she is quoted or linked.

In 2004, Waterman founded the Explore Transplants program and began counseling 250 renal patients in 20 area dialysis centers.

“What would it be like if you were sitting in a less desirable health care option [dialysis], and no one told you there was something that could return you to your normal life? Waterman asks. “It became clear that people were making decisions without having knowledge. A lot of patients are scared of transplants and the pain; they wonder what if it doesn’t work and what if they can’t find a donor.”

Let me translate: Amy Waterman’s day job is to counsel patients with kidney disease on the advantages of transplants. According to some of the other links, she has trained personnel at other dialysis centers to do the same.

Then I found this little gem:

2003 grant recipient
Amy Waterman, PhD
Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, MO
“Increasing Living Donor Volunteer Rates, Comfort, and Satisfaction: A Comparison of Three Educational Approaches”

In case I haven’t said it enough – There Is An Inherent Conflict Between Increasing Living Donation Rates And Protecting Living Donors. There is no way to balance “Find more living donors” with “We must ensure living donors are evaluated thoroughly and given proper aftercare” especially when there is NO comprehensive long-term data on living donors and NO transplant centers offer mental health or support services. NO ONE, and that includes Ms. Waterman’s employer(s).

This is who UNOS/OPTN feels is qualified to co-chair a Living Donor Committee? A non-living donor whose goal is get people transplants? I was under the impression that the goal of the living donor committee was to develop policy and consider issues regarding the respect, protection and care of living donors, not devise means of increasing their numbers, thereby lining the pockets of the transplant centers.

I guess I was wrong.

[ETA: the other co-chair Connie Davis and the official liaison, Lee Bolton – also NOT living donors]

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