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Controversy Surrounds New Organ Donor Guidelines

Filed under: Medicine

Donate life

The United Network for Organ Sharing, the nonprofit organization that coordinates organ donation under a contract with the federal government, has proposed "controversial" changes in guidelines governing “donation after cardiac death.”

At least, that's what some news sources labeled the changes.

A Washington Post article published on Monday stated the changes will do away with a suggested two-minute wait time after the donor’s heart has stopped beating to assure death before donation begins.

UNOS is saying otherwise after calling the article "a hysterical and inappropriate reaction to a very minor change in some standards."

According to UNOS spokesman Joel Newman:

“UNOS offers guidance on the different elements that hospitals should cover in their own organ donation policies, but the one thing we shouldn’t be weighing in on is how a hospital should be determining when death occurs. We are there to facilitate donation only after the medical care team has independently determined that death is inevitable."

The organization feels that the article may have stirred fears and changed some people's minds about signing up to be an organ donor. Charles Alexander, the former president of the group, said:

"If people misunderstand the message sent in the Post article, we end up losing public trust. When we don’t have public trust, there are families that may not opt to pursue organ donation and when that happens, people die.”

So no need to be alarmed! People aren't being unnecessarily killed off so their organs can be harvested quicker.

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