Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Organ donation and transplantation in Japan

The Chicago Tribune has an article (reprinted/translated?) from Japan:
Japan badly lags world in organ transplants
Yukiko Takanashi and Sakae Sasaki, (c) 2016, The Japan News/Yomiuri
(c) 2016, The Japan News/Yomiuri

"In July 2010, the revised Organ Transplant Law came into effect, enabling organ donations after the brain death of children younger than 15. However, there have been only 12 cases of organ donation by children under 15 since then. According to the Japanese Society for Heart Transplantation, 29 Japanese children under 18 traveled abroad for a transplant between 2010 and June 2016. That is more than twice the number that received a donor organ in Japan.
"In 2015, the organ donation rate in Japan stood at 0.7 people per million people. Spain had the highest rate at 39.7 people per million. The gap between Japan and other major countries remains wide. The rate stood at 28.5 people per million people in the United States, 27.5 in France, and 20.2 in Britain.
"The so-called Wada transplant, said to be Japan's first transplant from a brain-dead donor, was conducted in 1968 by Juro Wada at Sapporo Medical University. The boy who received the donor's heart died, and Wada was charged with murder. Questions were raised as to whether the organ donor had really been brain dead, and the case stirred a major controversy over the definition of death. For more than 30 years after that, no transplants from brain-dead donors were performed in Japan."

Deutsche Welle has a related story:
Why organ transplant is so difficult to carry out in Japan
Restrictive laws, religious concerns and a lack of knowledge about donating organs mean that medically-sophisticated Japan lags well behind other nations in life-saving operations. Julian Ryall reports from Tokyo.

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