Opioid Epidemic Overdoses Have Increased Organ Donations
Opioid Epidemic Overdoses Have Increased Organ Donations in the USA. Hospitals around the country are reporting record breaking numbers of transplants. It appears that the opiate epidemic is presenting to be a life-saving solution as tragic as it is.
Hospitals as required to test organs for diseases but potential donees still fear the possibilities of getting HIV, or Hepatitis B or C. However, the biggest risk these patients face is not receiving a donor before dying. Sadly the current opioid epidemic as resulted in many overdose deaths of younger first-time users whose organs are otherwise in better condition to transplant.
According to Dr. Klassen Chief Medical Officer at the United Network Organ Sharing (UNOS) drug overdoses have increased by over 2,000 percent since UNOS started recording the number from 1994 to 2015.
Are Drug User Organs Suitable for Use
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that a transplant of organs from IV drug users is “high risk” due to the risk of HIV and Hepatitis B or C infections.
- Dr. Klassen from UNOS has been quoted as saying the organs of the first and second time drug users have presented to be in better condition than that of the general population donor. Which he determines to make the risk of infection low.
Should Doctors tell Patients the Donor was a Drug User?
One question that has come up amongst surgeons is, “should I tell my patient that the donor was a drug user?” Doctors have different views regarding the pros and cons of revealing this information.
- Some doctors have shared that revealing this information about the donor is a violation of the donor’s privacy
- Other doctors believe full disclosure to the patient is part of obtaining patient consent for the procedure.
If you or a loved one were the patient would you want to know? Let us know by commenting below!
If it were me I would like to be informed that the donor was a user/addict. People in need of a donor should not be deemed so needy that pertinent information that could affect his/her future should be withheld from them.
The Public Health Service organization in its attempt to protect the public keeps an ongoing list of high-risk situations and diseases regarding organ transplants.
High-Risk Situations and Diseases on the list are:
- Hepatitis B and C
- people who have had sex for money
- history of incarceration
- people who have been on dialysis
Even though the availability of donors has increased due to the opioid epidemic the number of people in need of an organ has also increased. The United Network for Organ Sharing reports that so far there has not been a serious problem with patients turning down an organ due to the donor being a drug user.
The United Network for Organ Sharing reports that so far there has not been a serious problem with patients turning down an organ due to the donor being a drug user.
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