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Open Letter to US Secretary of Health calls for greater efforts to promote organ donation

Transplantation DirectRead the Open Letter courtesy of Transplantation Direct here.

March 12, 2015

American and international leaders in the field of organ donation and transplantation, as well as jurists, ethicists, anthropologists and public health experts have urged the US Secretary of Human Health and Services to support renewed efforts to promote organ donation.

The signatories to this Open Letter call for the removal of obstacles to organ donation, in particular financial barriers to living donation. They advocate the appointment of a new Task Force on Organ Donation and Transplantation to help coordinate and oversee such efforts.

The letter highlights the value and significance of the thirty year old National Organ Transplant Act in the United States, which prohibited trade in organs and provided a framework for the ethical procurement and distribution of human organs. It further emphasises the importance of sustained commitment by the international community to the World Health Organization's Guiding Principles.

Read the Open Letter here.

Inspired by the Declaration of Istanbul, Eye Banking Association endorses new Bioethical Framework


Thursday 5th March, 2015

EBAANZ Ratifies ANZs - first Bioethical Framework for Policy and Practice

PERTH: Yesterday, Members of EBAANZ ratified Australia and New Zealand’s first regional Bioethics Framework concerning Human Tissue for Ocular Application, during their annual meeting held in conjunction with the Corneal Society, at the Perth Convention Centre.

Inspired by the Declaration of Istanbul – which was developed to support ethical practice and policy in human organ transplantation internationally - and encouraged by the World Health Organization, EBAANZ members collaborated with corneal surgeons, policy advisers of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists, and obstetric representatives, to develop a framework relevant to the ANZ eye bank community and the wider eye care and donor communities. Dr Dominique Martin, bioethicist at the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Health Equity also collaborated on the project.

“The Framework” says EBAANZ Acting-Chair, Dr Graeme Pollock, “focuses on 9 key strategies which are designed to guide care and professional conduct while completing donor consent, tissue preparation and tissue distribution aspects of our cornea, sclera and amnion tissue custodian service.

“The Framework will support our professionals to work together to address tissue needs within our population and provide guidelines to surgeons and eye banks who are approached by colleagues from other countries for humanitarian support.

"Our natural instinct is to always help others but we needed some guidelines for decisions about how and where we should help. It also meant that we were ensuring that the generous gifts of ANZ donors were being respected and that our priority remains the ANZ recipients....


Read the complete media release at the Global Alliance of Eye Banking Associations website here.

You can also download a copy of the framework here.


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Cash for human kidneys: A bad idea is back

The HillThe Hill | February 27, 2015

[read the article]

By David Jonathan Cohen, MD

In 1983, along with many other kidney doctors, I received an unsettling letter from a new organization established to set up a market in human kidneys.The International Kidney Exchange, Ltd, as the venture was known, offered a simple business model:  buying kidneys from live donors and selling them to people in need of transplants. 

The negative response was immediate and overwhelming. Within a year, the National Organ Transplantation Act, sponsored by Rep. Al Gore Jr. (D-Tenn.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), was enacted, outlawing organ donation in exchange for what was termed “valuable consideration.”

Unfortunately, this idea hasn’t gone away, fueled by the shortage of kidneys and waiting lists that continue to grow. Last year alone, more than 35,000 people joined the US kidney transplant waiting list, and every day, 12 people died while waiting for kidneys. 

Such statistics are behind a renewed campaign to legalize human organ sales in the United States, with support coming not from a rogue organization  but from respected transplant professionals, economists and ethicists who argue that it’s an idea whose time has come. 

I beg to differ. Permitting organ donation in exchange for valuable consideration—whether money, health insurance, or some other cash equivalent—was a bad idea in 1983, and it’s a bad idea now...

Read the complete article at The Hill here.

Read more about the market debate on the Declaration of Istanbul website here.

CCSS intensifies the identification of organ donors

La Nacion Costa RicaLa Nacion | February 15, 2015

[leer el artículo en español/

read in English via Google Translate]

By Ángela Ávalos R

Cinco hospitales fueron seleccionados por la CCSS para identificar potenciales donadores de órganos entre los pacientes que fallezcan, lo que podría salvar la vida de otros que esperan trasplantes.

Los centros elegidos son Max Peralta (Cartago), Escalante Pradilla (Pérez Zeledón), San Rafael (Alajuela), San Vicente de Paúl (Heredia), y Enrique Baltodano (Liberia).

No se descarta integrar a esa lista al Tony Facio (Limón) y al Monseñor Sanabria (Puntarenas), en el futuro cercano.

La selección se basó en la capacidad que tienen esos cinco hospitales de diagnosticar y mantener un donante cadavérico, explicó el coordinador de trasplantes en la Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS), Marvin Agüero Chinchilla.

Estos centros cuentan con ventilador mecánico para conservar el cadáver oxigenado. También pueden diagnosticar la muerte cerebral, pues tienen neurólogo o neurocirujano. La estrategia, denominada hospital donante, es parte de la ejecución del modelo Red Nacional de Donación y Trasplantes, de la Caja.


Five hospitals were selected by the CCSS to identify potential organ donors among patients who die, which could save the lives of others waiting for transplants. The selected centers are Max Peralta (Carthage), Escalante Pradilla (Perez Zeledon), San Rafael (Alajuela), San Vicente de Paul (Heredia), and Enrique Baltodano (Liberia). It is not excluded that Tony Facio (Limón) and Monsignor Sanabria (Puntarenas) will join that list in the near future.

The selection was based on the ability of these five hospitals to diagnose and maintain a deceased donor, said the transplant coordinator at the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS), Marvin Chinchilla Agüero.

These centers have mechanical ventilators to keep the body oxygenated. They can also diagnose brain death, as they have a neurologist or neurosurgeon. The strategy, called donor hospital, is part of the implementation of the National Donation and Transplant Network model of the Fund...

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