More Efforts Needed To Increase Organ Donation
Efforts to increase U.S. residents' participation in organ donation programs need to be expanded, according to a report released Tuesday by the Institute of Medicine, USA Today reports. Currently, there are 92,076 people on organ waiting lists, and about 7,000 people die annually while waiting for an organ transplant.
IOM's 16-month study finds that efforts in some cities to encourage organ donation are effective (Davis, USA Today, 5/3). The report calls for federal agencies, not-for-profit groups and other organizations to improve organ donation systems, increase opportunities for people to make donations and boost public education on the value of donating organs, the Boston Globe reports.
Organ donations, which can be directed by the donor or by next of kin, mostly come from patients who have died due to lack of brain activity.
The panel also suggests seeking ways to increase donations from those who die of irreversible loss of heart function, according to the Globe.
The IOM report discourages the idea of offering financial incentives for donations, saying the practice could cause organs to become commodities, dissuading donations for altruistic reasons. The panel also decided against recommending that the law should assume willingness to donate unless specified, noting a lack of public support for such a move (Boston Globe, 5/2).
A report brief is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the brief.