Transplant Programs on Both Coasts Long for Midwestern Livers
The stark disparities among regions of the country, where some wait months while others, if they survive, wait years for a liver, has kept a national debate simmering over how best to give all patients a more equal chance.
That debate appears ready to boil.
A committee report by two organizations responsible for managing the nation’s transplant system has been circulating through the transplant community this summer. It suggests ways to equalize access to donor livers across the country.
Redesigning the distribution system would mean more donor livers would end up being flown to distant transplant hospitals and patients on average would be somewhat sicker when those livers were transplanted.
But overall, the changes would save more than 550 lives over five years.
The report, which could lead to proposed policy changes early next year, is being applauded by many in the transplant community. But it’s raising red flags at some transplant programs, like KU’s, that are doing well under the current system.