Friday, December 29, 2017

The courts take an interest in organ allocation rules

The rules for how deceased donor organs are allocated to patients needing transplants are set by a long-established, slow and thorough bureaucratic process overseen by UNOS, which typically involves the deliberation of multiple committees and the solicitation of comments from many parties and the public.

Recently the courts have taken an interest however. Here's a story from Modern Healthcare, about a court case brought on behalf of a particular patient in urgent need of a transplant.

As stakeholders debate organ allocation rules, courts may push change

"UNOS, the private, not-for-profit in charge of the organ transplant system, divides the country into 11 regions, essentially demarcating borders within which organs move from donor to recipient.

"The system was abruptly changed as a result of the first legal challenge to these borders in years, which came Nov. 19, in Holman's name.

"Attorneys filed an emergency complaint against HHS on her behalf. They sought an injunction on UNOS' regional policy that is much-debated but seldom changed.

"The Holman lawsuit set in motion a rapid succession of government counter-appeals and new court orders. It culminated in a Thanksgiving change to a rule on lung allocation, expanding the procurement area to a 250-mile radius around a patient's donor service area.
"As stakeholders debate the what-ifs, the waitlists in organ-scarce regions aren't getting shorter and patients like Holman and de la Rosa may spur the courts to draw their own conclusions, and possibly their own boundaries."

HT: Frank McCormick

And here's a story on the still-complex current state of affairs for the allocation of deceased-donor livers, from the NY Times:
Greater Access to Donated Livers Promised to Transplant Patients

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