Sunday, February 9, 2020

Deceased donor organs, lost to transplantation due to problems in transportation

NBC News has the story:

Lost luggage: How lifesaving organs for transplant go missing in transit
Scores of organs — mostly kidneys — are trashed each year and many more become critically delayed while being shipped on commercial airliners.
Feb. 8, 2020, By JoNel Aleccia

" a new analysis of transplant data finds that a startling number of lifesaving organs are lost or delayed while being shipped on commercial flights, the delays often rendering them unusable.
"Between 2014 and 2019, nearly 170 organs could not be transplanted and almost 370 endured “near misses,” with delays of two hours or more, after transportation problems, according to an investigation by Kaiser Health News and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting. The media organizations reviewed data from more than 8,800 organ and tissue shipments collected voluntarily and shared upon request by the United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS, the nonprofit government contractor that oversees the nation’s transplant system. Twenty-two additional organs classified as transportation “failures” were ultimately able to be transplanted elsewhere.

"Surgeons themselves often go to hospitals to collect and transport hearts, which survive only four to six hours out of the body. But kidneys and pancreases — which have longer shelf lives — often travel commercial, as cargo. As such, they can end up missing connecting flights or delayed like lost luggage. Worse still, they are typically tracked with a primitive system of phone calls and paper manifests, with no GPS or other electronic tracking required.
"Transplant surgeons around the country, irate and distressed, told KHN that they have lost the chance to transplant otherwise usable kidneys because of logistics.
"One contributing factor is the lack of a national system to transfer organs from one region to another because they match a distant patient in need.
"Instead, the U.S. relies on a patchwork of 58 nonprofit organizations called organ procurement organizations, or OPOs, to collect the organs from hospitals and package them. Teams from the OPOs monitor surgeries to remove organs from donors and then make sure the organs are properly boxed and labeled for shipping and delivery.
"From there, however, the OPOs often rely on commercial couriers and airlines, which are not formally held accountable for any ensuing problems."
And here's a related podcast at Reveal news: Lost in Transplantation

HT: Frank McCormick 

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