The Ethics Of Solving The Transplant Organ Shortage

There are no easy answers when trying to solve problems associated with the supply of organs available for transplant.

Science Life

Since the first successful kidney transplant in 1954, outcomes have improved dramatically for patients who undergo the often life-saving procedure. Today, kidneys are the most commonly and reliably transplanted organs, representing the best option for people with end-stage renal failure brought on by diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension, and many other causes. However, advances in kidney transplantation have come with a price.

“We’re victims of our own success,” said Mark Siegler, MD, Director of the MacLean Center for Medical Ethics. “Organ transplantation has become so effective and so relatively safe and beneficial, that more and more people, appropriately, want to be recipients and want to have their lives saved. But we have a fairly flat line of donors.”

Close to 100,000 Americans are currently on waiting lists for transplant kidneys, a number that has almost doubled since 2000. At the same time, the number of kidneys available has stagnated, which…

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Dexcom CGM

I’ve had type 1 diabetes for over 20 years. During that time, there have been incremental developments in diabetes management that have made diabetic life more tolerable. Synthetic insulin, the fast acting insulin Humalog, a stable insulin pump, the long acting insulin Lantis, and a 5 second blood glucose meter are all examples of improvements that have found their way into my regimen at one point.

After discussing my care with my endocrinologist, I recently received a Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) after having the unit approved by my insurance company. After initially charging the unit, following the directions for applying the sensor, and installing the software, I am pleased to report that this system works extremely well.

The use of a GGM is really a fundamental shift for how I view blood glucose (BG) readings. While testing 3-4 times a day was a useful measure of how my BG readings were at specific times of the day, it wasn’t possible to accurately analyze trending. I now have a fairly reliable read on my BG readings, and can view BG trends measured every 5 minutes in graphs on the device over 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 hour periods. And the software grabs that data and can store it in multiple formats.

The GCM really is a game changer, I fully expect to have much better results on my long term BG numbers.