A Look at the Organ Transplant List: How it Works and What to Do

The organ transplant list is one of the most complex and controversial components of hospital care. It is easy to say that everyone should get an organ, but there are very real and dramatic limitations, including a lack of resources, proper matching, and, put simply, a shortage of viable organs. Lahey Hospital uses a wonderful system that saves as many lives as possible. Though it can be easy to be cynical, some amazing stories of organ donation have surfaced right in the city.

How does the organ transplant list work?

Every candidate completes an advanced filing that covers pretty much every component t of their health history and even their life in regards to lifestyles, biology, age, etc. Age is not often factored in at all, as that creates a societal bias. The candidates are placed on a national list that encompasses every patient in the country who is in need of an organ.

Why does the hospital work with such tight time frames?

When an organ appears in the system, the entire network is notified. In short, Lahey Hospital works on both a national level and a local level. For example, an organ is available in the local community and at Lahey. Patients at Lahey are already prioritized but not necessarily guaranteed the organ. The same applies everywhere else. It is a team effort at a national level to save lives. There is a very tight time frame available to work with, so professionals in the organization need to act fast. This is why it is so imperative to get the organ waiting and priority list perfect.

The hospital staff members work with the national system to allocate where an available organ goes based on metrics. Children are prioritized over adults. Non-smokers are prioritized. Proximity is factored in. All these elements help contribute to the most effective and fair system of saving lives possible.

There are no easy answers. The Lahey Hospital Facebook profile is one resource to help answer questions. It is a complicated system that seeks to work with real limitations and the realities of medical care. The team at Lahey Hospital seeks to save lives and offer clear information for all patients.