NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 1, 2004

Several states are finding new ways to increase the pool of organ donors and reduce costs and waiting times for transplantees.

LifeSource, which coordinates organ donation in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, voted to begin accepting organs from patients who don't meet all the criteria for brain death but who cannot survive without life support:

  • The new rule could increase the number of donors in the region by 10 to 20 percent.
  • Nearly half of the states have begun accepting organ donations from such patients.
  • Kidney donations in particular could increase by 20 percent because they are the most durable organs and can be recovered from donors more easily.

And Gift of Life Donor Program, which manages organ donations in eastern Pennsylvania, may allow organ donors to be transferred to special organ transplant facilities. The plan is intended to reduce delays, as surgeons often have to wait for hospital rooms to open up before performing transplant surgery.

In St. Louis, where organ donors are taken directly to transplant facilities, costs were reduced by between 18 and 48 percent because of savings in operation room costs and staff.

Source: Josephine Marcotty, "Rules for organ donation are altered," Minneapolis Star-Tribune, June 24, 2004, and Stacey Burling, "A new approach for transplants," Philadelphia Inquirer, June 26, 2004.


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