Expanding Donor Criteria: Is it Safe?
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With technological advances saving lives daily, one obstacle still plagues the medical community - organ shortages. Over 112,000 patients await a new organ in the United States alone and the numbers keep growing (Transplant trends, 2011). Between 2001 and 2010 this disparity between the number of patients on the waiting list and the number of organ donors caused over 7,000 people to lose their lives every year (Death removals, 2011). Although modern medicine can keep patients awaiting a new organ living longer, the only way to save lives is to increase the number of available organs. One way to solve the organ shortage is to use organs that the medical community would have discarded before, or put another way, marginal organs. Donors previously thought unable to provide organs are now being considered to decrease the disparity between the waiting list and the number of organs available. “Marginal or extended criteria donors (ECD) are defined as those with a greater risk of initial poor function or graft failure” (Gastaca, 2009, p. 975). Although extended organ criteria are more commonly accepted now, there are benefits and risks to consider. Patients awaiting organs now have another choice to make, is a marginal organ worth the risk? It is important to both understand the implications of the organ shortage and the benefits and risks of using marginal donor organs.
About the author: Anne Barkman is from Leawood, Kansas. She was an academic honor roll recipient for Fall 2010, Spring 2011 and Fall 2011 semesters. After graduation, she plans to start her nursing career on the Medical Intensive Care Unit at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Her future plans involve returning to school for her Doctorate of Nursing Practice and involvement in nursing education. She is actively planning a trip to Africa where she hopes to climb to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro. She wishes to thank her parents and siblings for their constant encouragement and for their ability to bring humor into her life.
- Volume 6, Issue 1 
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