Proposed changes in liver donation system raises concerns
Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) transplant doctors are putting up a red flag about the proposed changes to the liver allocation system made by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) recently, saying the changes would result in fewer donated livers for the state.
Doctors with MUSC are criticizing UNOS, a private organization which manages the country’s organ transplant system, for its proposed changes regarding donor liver distribution, a MUSC release said.
UNOS has sent a proposal to the federal government calling for “redistricting” liver donations based on a patient’s Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score, the release said. The proposal would cause some livers to be shipped out of South Carolina to patients in other states with higher MELD scores, according to MUSC.
“Under the new policy, a patient will have to have a really high MELD to get a liver,” MUSC Director of Transplant Surgery Derek DuBay said in the release. “You have to survive in South Carolina to get to that MELD. South Carolina already has the highest wait list mortality rate in the continental U.S. Shunting donor livers away from South Carolina is going to exacerbate the very problem UNOS is attempting to address. More wait listed patients are going to die. We do not want our patients to die.”
According to DuBay, 90 percent of livers transplanted at the medical center come from South Carolina donors, with MUSC performing about 100 liver transplants per year, the release said.
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