Fixing Procedures and Protocol
The National Network of Organ Donors is committed to removing the barriers — both legal and emotional — that can prevent life-saving transplants from taking place: to protecting both potential organ donors and health care institutions that perform transplants by putting a system in place that guarantees that a person’s written consent to donate organs can, and will, be honored 100 percent of the time. We’ve already begun taking steps to make this happen, and our long-term goal is to accomplish the following:
The United States population overwhelmingly believes in organ donation. We are working — and will continue to work — with all 50 states to establish a way for hospitals to retrieve donor information within seconds of a patient being brought in from an accident, so they can establish immediately whether the patient is an organ donor. The National Network of Organ Donors hopes to maintain an up-to-date list of millions of potential donors, enabling organ donation to proceed regardless of any objections from next-of-kin.
Every hospital in the country must be made aware of the network and taught how to use it. We will work with leadership from each hospital to ensure this happens in a timely manner. Much of our focus will be on hospitals with trauma centers, because the majority of patients with life-threatening injuries are brought to trauma centers.
This may be the most important goal of TNNOD. Legislation must be passed so doctors and hospitals can carry out the wishes of the patient without fear of being sued if a family member objects. With this network, doctors and hospitals will be able to provide immediate verification that the patient wished to be an organ donor.
There are 58 organ procurement organizations (OPOs) across the United States, and although most are established for informational purposes, they are an important factor in distribution of organs. TNNOD will establish partnerships with all of the OPOs to ensure the highest number of matches between donors and recipients.
The United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS), a private organization funded by the government, maintains the national transplant recipient waiting list. A few of TNNOD’s advisory board members have served on the UNOS board, which will enable us to establish a good working relationship with UNOS. This alliance will be crucial in fulfilling our mission.
Since the main goal of TTNOD is to build — and continue to grow — a national database of organ donors, we will take our cue from England, which is able to grow its transplant network by 1,000,000 people each year. We hope to duplicate England’s amazing success here in the U.S. This will involve, among other things, a large-scale promotional campaign featuring a series of public service announcements to be aired in the coming months and years.
Affording costly antirejection medications, which transplant recipients must take for the rest of their lives, can be yet another barrier to transplant. Because TNNOD believes that every person who needs a lifesaving transplant should be able to have one, we would like to establish a financial assistance program to help recipients pay for their medications if they can’t afford to do so.
TNNOD hopes to establish a system through which the family of an organ donor can meet the person, or people, who receive their loved one’s organs if both parties consent to the meeting.