Roughly seven thousand patients get a liver transplant every year across the country, but about 17,000 remain on waiting lists. The doctors have always had a hard time trying to figure out which patient should get a liver transplant sooner.
The problem is that this controversy has turned into a hotly-debated political subject. Therefore, many medical organizations have recently gathered to discuss the current situation of many American patients who are still on waiting lists although they are very sick.
It is important to mention that the benefits are great for people who get a liver transplant. Many of them would get a second chance to life their lives, even if they were suffering from life-threatening conditions, such as cancer and cirrhosis.
Nevertheless, there is a limited number of donors in the country. As such, the Final Rule was established by Congress in 2000, so that livers could be distributed fairly among patients. More precisely, the Final Rule has the role of facilitating the decisions taken by the U.S. medical community.
According to this regulation, the organs should be allocated based on the most accurate medical judgment and the avoidance of useless transplants. For instance, if a patient has an advanced form of hepatitis, but he or she can still be treated, there is no need to assign that person for a liver transplant.
In other words, this medical procedure should be seen as the last resort. In addition, the Final Rule states that the patients’ chances of getting a liver transplant must not be influenced by where they live.
Still, the geographical disparity hasn’t been eliminated yet. Waiting lists in California are substantially longer than those in Oregon, for example. This means that patients in California medical centers become much sicker and their chances of survival drop down before receiving a transplant.
To address this issue, some medical organizations across the country came up with the idea that the regions with shorter waiting lists should share their supply of donor livers with other regions which have more sick and longer waiting lists.
The new map was released for public comment, and eight out of eleven regions voted against the program, saying that if a region has a longer waiting list, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the medical facilities are in greater need.
Therefore, another part of the plan would be to reduce the number of patients on waiting lists, but that would still be a very challenging process.
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