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