Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Disease Victims Usually Aren't Organ Donors

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Disease Victims Usually Aren't Organ Donors

Article excerpt

Dear Ann Landers: Please answer this question in your column. Can a person who has had hepatitis A become an organ donor? What about diabetes or cancer? I would like to become an organ donor but need some answers first. Can you help?

SACRAMENTO, CALIF.

According to The Living Bank, anyone can be an organ donor, depending on the condition of the organs at the time of death and the decision of the surgeons involved.

Diabetics are individually assessed. The use of organs from those who have had hepatitis A would depend on the condition of the liver. Very few procurement agencies will accept organs from those who have had hepatitis B. Organs are not accepted from AIDS patients, although a few agencies will take corneas. Cancer patients are also rarely approved as donors, but again, it depends on the spread of the disease.

No surgeon would want to use an organ for transplant if it might be infected with a life-threatening disease. Great pains are taken to ensure that transplanted organs are healthy.

Since the death of Mickey Mantle, I have received many letters asking if celebrities skip to the head of the transplant list. The answer is no. Mickey Mantle, like many others, was moved to the top of the list because his condition warranted it. However, money can make a difference.

According to Dr. Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, a person's wealth and prestige can help him. A liver transplant costs $300,000, including an initial $10,000 to $20,000 evaluation. Either you or your insurance company must cover this cost. Affluent patients can afford to have evaluations at several centers and get on more than one waiting list. Also, transplant recipients must indicate that they are able to pay for expensive anti-rejection drugs, which must be taken for the rest of their lives. …

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