Organ Donation Territories Vary
The University of California-Davis liver transplant program has just 28 patients on its waiting list, but the center gets the first choice of most of the organs recovered in its territory, the Los Angeles Times reports. UC-Davis' territory has a population of 2.4 million people, while the remainder of Northern California is a single territory that has 1,975 people awaiting livers and a population of 11.1 million people.
United Network for Organ Sharing, the agency that oversees the nation's transplant system, divided the U.S. into 58 territories. Most of the organs donated within a territory go to patients in that region, even though there might be sicker patients on other waiting lists.
According to the Times, the territories have created "geographical inequalities" for all organs because supply and demand vary across the regions, and, "in most cases, nothing forces organ-rich territories to share."
The longest wait times for liver transplant are in territories surrounding Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, which together account for 30% of the 17,222 people waiting nationwide. UC-San Francisco Medical Center has the longest list, followed by New York University hospitals, UC-Los Angeles Medical Center and Stanford University Hospital (Zarembo, Los Angeles Times, 6/11).