ORGAN TRANSPLANTS: Study Reveals ‘Striking’ Disparities
In a "striking" new study, HHS reveals that the chances of getting a transplant, dying while waiting for a transplant, and surviving after receiving a transplant vary tremendously across U.S. transplant centers, the AP/Nando Times reports. Members of Congress -- who are mulling over changes in the national transplant policy -- requested the report on heart and liver transplants, which was the first governmental study of its kind. Campbell Gardett, an HHS spokesperson, said, "This [study] answers the questions a transplant patient would have: Will I get a transplant? Will I be alive a year from now?" Several variables potentially explaining the disparity uncovered in the study include the distribution of scarce organs, a community's willingness to donate organs and the methodology of collecting organs. Other transplant success factors include surgeons' medical skills during the transplant procedure and follow-up care. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) said the report affords the House Commerce Committee the most "up-to-date" information for patients and Congress regarding transplant procedure and policy. "If you're a patient, your chances of survival depend enormously on where you get your transplant," Waxman said. The report comes the day before legislation concerning the nation's transplant policies is expected to pass the House Commerce Committee. The proposed bill, which would allow the transplant network to maintain data similar to that in the study in confidence from everyone but transplant patients, is strongly opposed by the Clinton administration. The report was reviewed by experts from the United Network for Organ Sharing and included data from April 1994 through early 1999 (Meckler, 10/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.