Organ Shortage Needs Multi-Faceted Approach – National KidneyFoundation Unveils New Plan To End Wait

January 30, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

The National Kidney Foundation’s
(NKF) Board of Directors announced today a comprehensive action plan to
address the urgent need to increase the number of organs available for
transplantation in the U.S.

The END THE WAIT! initiative is a virtual call-to-arms designed to put
in place tested and proven actions relating to education, financial and
medical practice. In collaboration with other major organizations in the
kidney care and transplant communities, the NKF will lead this
initiative that will begin immediately and end the wait for kidney
transplants within 10 years.

Rather than seek small changes or single-issue amendments to existing
laws, the foundation plans to work with Congress to craft legislation
that will address all the barriers to donation. The END THE WAIT!
initiative will complement, not amend, the National Organ Transplant Act
(NOTA) that bans the sale of organs and the Uniform Anatomical Gift Acts
(UAGA) that enables potential donors to legally indicate their wishes on
their driver’s licenses.

“The national transplant waiting list hit 100,000 this year for the
first time,” says John Davis, NKF CEO, “Most of the people on this
list will wait too long for an organ and too many will die while
waiting. We’ve decided to meet this core challenge head on and lead a
broad-based initiative that will eliminate barriers to donation,
institute best practices across the country, cover the cost of donation
and increase the pool of living and deceased donors.”

“Instead of debating the merits of untested strategies that may or
may not motivate people to donate, we’re unveiling a national plan
that combines the ‘best of the best’ tactics that have worked in
some regions of the country to increase donation. We are committed to
making the disincentives to donation go away,” continues Davis.

The END THE WAIT! recommendations focus on four key areas, including:

— Improving outcomes of first transplants, therefore reducing
the need for second transplants through measures such as covering the
cost of needed immunosuppressive drugs for life;

— Increasing deceased donation through training of hospital
personnel about the optimal care for potential donor families and by
recovering and utilizing organs from Extended Criteria Donors (such as
donors who were older or sick) and from donors who have experienced
cardiac death in addition to those who were brain dead;

— Increasing the number of living donors by ensuring that they
are reimbursed for all expenses involved in the donation, including
lost wages, by providing access to health care and life insurance
coverage and by offering them state-of-the-art medical care that
ensures the quickest post-surgical recovery time;

— Improving the system of donation and transplantation throughout
the U.S. by eliminating regional variations in access to
transplantation and follow-up care and racial disparities in donating,
getting on the waiting list and receiving a transplant.

This initiative was developed in consultation with national experts in
the field and NKF’s constituents, including kidney patients, potential
donors, living donors and family members of deceased donors.

According to Tom Falsey, who donated a kidney to a stranger in need,
“I have seen what the miracle of transplantation can mean. My
teenage recipient no longer needs to be hooked up to a dialysis machine
three days a week. His mother can once again see his freckles that were
invisible during his illness. That is all the reward I need. But I
also feel that you shouldn’t have to take money out of your pocket to
save someone else’s life. I live in Kansas and my recipient was in
Nebraska so I covered all the costs of travel back and forth to the
transplant center in order to be a donor. This is common practice now,
but we need to do a better job of covering the costs so that people will
not be turned off from the whole process.”

The National Kidney Foundation, Inc. (NKF) is the major voluntary
health organization dedicated to preventing kidney disease, improving
the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by kidney
disease and increasing the availability of all organs for

For more information on organ donation, NKF’s position statement and
a full list of the END THE WAIT! recommendations visit

National Kidney Foundation, Inc.



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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