Patients Waiting for an Organ Transplant Deserve Fairness

NCTE sent the following Letter to the Editor in response to The Washington Post’s recent op-ed on liver allocation and they have declined all responses.

David Von Drehle’s April 2 op-ed “The U.S. organ transplant system is broken. But the latest fix will make it worse” embodies the parochialism and disinformation that has plagued the organ transplant debate.

 The current system’s regional nature is the precise reason a Federal court deemed it illegal, and why access to organs currently has more to do with where you live than your medical condition.

 Independent research concluded that the new allocation policy that Von Drehle dismisses will reduce waitlist mortality across the country by eight percent—the primary reason a diverse group of transplant community leaders approved it by an overwhelming majority. Equally important, 82 percent of donors prefer their organs go to the most medically needy patients regardless of where they live.

 Opponents of broader sharing have been fighting reform since before final regulations declaring organs a national resource were implemented in 2000. Innumerable public hearings, discussions, and open comment periods have been held on a variety of proposals in just the past few years. Far from being “abrupt,” this decision is long overdue, especially for Americans currently waiting for an organ, and the far too many who have gone before them.

Billy Wynne