TISSUE BANKS: Association to Consider Giving Burn Victims Priority
The ethics committee of the American Association of Tissue Banks will draft a policy asking tissue banks to make skin available to burn victims first, the Orange County Register reports. In the investigative series "The Body Brokers," the Register had revealed how tissue banks are now a $500 million industry, and that "burn doctors have trouble finding skin in emergencies while companies make skin products for elective procedures." The association's president Dr. Richard Kagan said that "tissue-banking officials have been aware of the ethical questions surrounding the money-making side" of the business for several years. Kagan added that he would work with association members to draft another policy that would inform donors that companies could turn a profit on tissue donations. The Board of Governors will vote on the proposals during a September meeting. During the association's midyear meeting, the Skin Council decided to survey burn surgeons and skin banks to determine which areas lack skin to treat burn patients and why. In the meantime, some tissue banks have voluntarily altered their practices. LifeNet of Virginia no longer will send skin to the Massachusetts-based Collagenesis Inc., which makes skin-based cosmetic-surgery products. Donor Network of Arizona also recently announced that it no longer will allow its skin to be used in cosmetic-surgery products and the Orange County Eye and Tissue Bank last month began allowing families to opt to donate their deceased relatives' skin for cosmetic surgery (Heisel, 5/10).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.