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  • More organ-transplant recipients seek their own donors
    Jane Lerner, TJN 10:57 p.m. EDT May 18, 2014

    Organ transplant recipients are turning to social media and other outlets to seek their own donors, as demand for organs outpaces supplies and would-be recipients languish on long wait lists.

    Ethicists worry that organs will go to those who have the means to master social media
    Advocates say the shift makes more organs available to people who need them
    Another concern: a person's overall health and odds for recovery may not figure in at all
    An increasing number of living donors are unrelated to recipients

    Paula Campolargo regularly updates her Facebook page, tweets, posts ads on Craigslist, hands out fliers at church and hangs signs on grocery store bulletin boards.

    But her two-year long search has failed to turn up anyone able to give her the kidney that she so desperately needs.

    "It's disappointing, but I'll never stop," the Cortlandt Manor resident said. "I can't. There has to be someone out there willing to do it."

    As the need for donor organs, especially kidneys, continues to outstrip the supply, more and more people are launching their own searches, with many of them, like Camplargo, turning to social media.

    "It's like the Wild West in a sense that we are desperate," said Helen Harper of Greenburgh, who waited six years for her turn on a waiting list for a kidney from a deceased donor. "People are dying waiting for organs."

    Kidneys are by far the most commonly transplanted organ.

    In 2013, 16,895 kidney transplants took place nationwide. Of those, 11,161 came from a deceased donor, but more than half, 5,734, came from a living donor.

    And an increasing number of those living donors are unrelated to the recipient.

    Just 20 years ago, stranger or "altruistic" donations, were rare, said Anne Paschke, a spokeswoman for the United Network for Organ Sharing, which manages the nation's organ transplant system. Paying for an organ is illegal in the United States.

    The trend troubles some ethicists.

    "It may not go to the person who needs it the most or the person who can benefit the most," said Arthur L. Caplan, a professor of bioethics at New York University who has written extensively about the ethics of transplantation.

    "The rich do better than the poor; outgoing, technologically skilled people do better than shy, non-computer literate people," Caplan said.

    And a person's overall health and odds for recovery may not figure in at all, he said.

    Dr. Stuart Greenstein, a Bronx surgeon in the Montefiore Einstein Center for Transplantation was a member of a national committee that looked at the issue of people soliciting for organs.

    The committee concluded that soliciting for live donors was permissible, but asking for direct donation from the family of a deceased donor violated the United Network for Organ Sharing protocols that determine who gets the organ.

    "The decreased donor pool is not growing," he said. "We have to supplement the supply by people getting altruistic, living donors. It's a wonderful thing as long as it's done properly."

    Scarsdale resident Phillip Cunningham thought his only option when his kidneys failed was a years-long wait for a donor organ along with three-times weekly dialysis. Then a neighbor told him about a Massachusetts-based Internet organization called MatchingDonors.com.

    The group charges a maximum lifetime $595 fee to create a profile to try to attract a donor. Two weeks later, he was contacted by a stranger in Florida who offered him a kidney.

    Cunningham received a new kidney in February, just 94 days after signing up with the service.

    "My donor felt that what was a minor inconvenience for him would make a huge difference in the life of someone like me," Cunningham said. "I'm a very, very lucky man."

    Others find a willing donor by chance.

    Retired New York City police officer Robert Martin's donor, Anthony Ferrante, lived on the same street as his mother.

    When Ferrante heard that Martin — whose health was damaged from an illness attributed to the months he spent at the rubble of the World Trade Center after Sept. 11 — needed a kidney transplant, he offered to see if he could donate.

    "Our kids are the same age," said Ferrante, an accountant. "I wanted him to be able to see them grow up."

    The pair were a match and the surgery took place in February.

    "He gave me a second chance at life," Martin said. "If not for altruistic people like that, so many more would die on the waiting list."

    To learn more

    New York residents can register to be an organ donor through the Organ and Tissue Registry, run by the state Health Department. For more information, visit http://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/patients/donation/organ/ or call 866-693-6667.

    Other sources of information:

    • New York Alliance for Donation, http://www.alliancefordonation.org/

    • National Kidney Foundation at http://www.kidney.org

    • United Network for Organ Sharing at http://www.unos.org

    Kidney donations, nationwide

    In 2013:

    • 16,895 Kidney transplants

    • 11,161 Deceased donors

    • 5,734 Living donors

    By 2013:

    • 23.2 percent Living donors, parents or children

    • 21 percent Direct donations, unrelated donors.

    2014, to date:

    • 19.5 Living donors, parents or children.

    • 23 percent Direct donations, unrelated donors

    The trend troubles some ethicists who worry that precious organs have become a prize going to people who are the most articulate, attractive or have the means or technological savvy to master social media.

    "The rich do better than the poor; outgoing, technologically skilled people do better than shy, non-computer literate people," Arthur L. Caplan, professor of bioethics at New York University

    http://www.lohud.com/story/news/health/2014/05/18/organ-transplant-...
  • UNOS Update magazine to cease publication.
    Signup for Transplant Pro e-newsletter

    It is with sadness that I’m writing to tell you that the Update magazine is ceasing publication. The March-April issue, which will have a delayed distribution in May—will be the farewell issue.

    The Update joins a list of distinguished magazines that have ceased publication over the last decade, including Teen, Gourmet, Country Home, PC Magazine and hundreds of others with broad and varied readerships.

    The reasons provided for the decision, though, are often quite similar—the preference of a growing number of readers to receive information digitally and the need to free up resources in order to invest in an enhanced on-line presence.

    Both reasons certainly are true for the Update.

    UNOS already has a strong digital presence—with its websites, e-newsletter and presence on social media—all providing an array of places for transplant professionals and the larger transplant community to get timely, accurate and inspirational information.

    Freeing up the resources used for production of the Update will enable enhancements of those media. Both the OPTN and UNOS family of websites will be redesigned over the coming year for improved content, navigation, functionality across devices … and more.

    Most important for Update readers, if you don't receive the monthly Transplant Pro e-newsletter, be sure to subscribe now at http://transplantpro.org/enews/. Transplant Pro contains critical information about policy, patient safety, upcoming educational events and much more, many of which can also be found at http://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov.

    In addition, we are exploring ways of incorporating some of the feature articles published in the Update into Transplant Pro. Send your ideas on topics of general interest to the transplant community to unos.communications@unos.org for our consideration.

    I’ll provide more information and bid you a fond farewell in the Editor’s Note of the final issue … but, until then, sign up to receive the Transplant Pro e-newsletter if you haven’t already, and visit the UNOS and OPTN websites and Transplant Living to refresh your memory on all the information that UNOS makes available.

    Best,

    Diana

    Diana G. Westbrook, M.A., ABC

    Editor, Update
    • Thank you Jay- I will share this news in our newsletter today. :)
  • Here is a video about expanding the window for transplanting hearts.  Quite interesting and just one more step forward in transplantation.

    http://www.upworthy.com/it-looks-like-something-you-should-never-se...

  • Just an FYI for anyone who is still receiving social security checks in the mail.
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Social Security deadline arrives for switching to direct deposit

    For millions of seniors getting a monthly Social Security check in the mail, time's up.

    Today (March 1) is the U.S. Treasury's mandatory deadline for switching over to electronic payments for Social Security and other federal benefits.

    That means, unless you're over age 90, the days of a monthly paper check in the mail are coming to an end.

    "We are getting lots of calls. People are resigned that they need to switch and they're calling to do so," said Walt Henderson, director of the U.S. Treasury's Go Direct program.

    This week, he said, Go Direct's call center has been getting up to 45,000 calls a day.

    Since the mandatory switch was announced in April 2011, millions of seniors – some reluctantly – have been signing up for electronic payments, either directly deposited into a bank account or onto a Direct Expressdebit card.

    About 94.3 percent of all Social Security and SSI recipients are getting paperless payments, according to Henderson. As of this week, that still leaves roughly 4.25 million seniors who haven't signed up but Henderson said he's hopeful of getting "close to 100 percent" compliance.

    "All we're doing is changing the delivery," said Henderson. "We're not requiring you to get on the Internet or buy a computer. We're putting an electronic deposit into your bank account. Beyond that, we're not changing anything."

    Anyone who turned 90 as of May 1, 2011, isn't required to sign up for electronic payments.

    Read on:
    http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/01/5227354/social-security-deadline-a...

  • Doctor from first kidney transplant in 1954 passed away - http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/28/health/dr-joseph-e-murray-transpl...

  • I like the new look very much!

  • Did you notice the new look on Transplant Friends?  I just had an interior designer come over my house- LOL

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