January 17, 2001

Reexamining Organ Transplantation

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: University of Southern California Law School, Los Angeles.

JAMA. 2001;285(3):334-336. doi:10.1001/jama.285.3.334

It is time to consider a fundamental reexamination of the US system for transplantable organ procurement and allocation. This need arises from several important issues, including whether regional vs national allocation policies best ensure fair access to available organs; the alleged problems in procurement of human tissue under investigation by the Inspector General of the US Department of Health and Human Services1,2; the application of new technologies for growing human pluripotent stem cells that may one day allow the manufacture of replacement organs and tissues autologous to their recipients; and perhaps most important, weaknesses and tensions in organ procurement policies that have produced chronic problems and shortfalls in the availability of life-saving solid organs. The article by Wendler and Dickert3 in this issue of THE JOURNAL is the latest indication of concerns about equity, reliability, and efficacy in organ procurement and transplantation that must stimulate change.

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