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June 13, 1977

The Organ Donor

JAMA. 1977;237(24):2643-2644. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270510065031

OF THE newer medical techniques, organ transplantation has most consistently intrigued the public. From the news of the first heart transplant to the most recent pancreatic islet transplants, the press has informed an interested public even before medical journals have informed physicians. When a kidney transplant recipient returns to his hometown after the surgery, he is at once a noted figure. Even strangers speak to him. However, the person that almost no one asks about is the donor.

Donor Selection  There are a large number of potential candidates for kidney transplantation each year. It is estimated that 50,000 to 55,000 patients in this country die each year of chronic renal failure. Dialysis and transplant can prolong the lives of many of these.1According to "The 12th Report of the Human Renal Transplant Registry,"2 a total of 16,444 kidney transplants thus far are registered worldwide. Of these, 57% are