A New Solution for Organ Donation

February 13, 2018

The volunteer-based organ donor system is failing America. Last year, around 7,000 people died while awaiting an organ transplant. The demand for organs cannot be met by the current system.

Financial incentive-based programs, such as the one instated by Iran in 1988 that allowed kidney donors to be paid through a government foundation, could be one fix for this issue. However, Ruth L. Newhouse associate professor of health care policy, Anupam B. Jena, PhD, MD, and Dana P. Goldman of University of Southern California, have another idea.

Why not work to better treatment of the maladies that can require organ transplants, Jena and Goldman suggest in The Hill. Recent medications have been shown to cure 90% of hepatitis C patients, who account for a large amount of liver transplants. Jena and Goldman estimate that by curing hepatitis C patients, 7,300 livers will be available for other transplants from 2015-2035.

Patients suffering from obesity and diabetes are two of the largest recipients of organ transplants. An approach similar to the hepatitis C treatment could be a solution. If the way these conditions were treated was improved, fewer patients would experience organ failure, which would free up donated organs for patients who could not survive without a transplant.