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Organ donation: Can the US do better?

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7222.1445 (Published 27 November 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1445
  1. Phil H Berry Jr, past president
  1. Texas Medical Association, Dallas, Texas

    Editorial p 1382

    It was a simple statement by my doctor. “You're dying. Without a liver transplant, you will be dead in four weeks.” After contracting hepatitis B in the operating room some three years earlier, my life as a husband, father, and orthopaedic surgeon was coming to an end As depressed as I may have been when confronted with this reality, it did not match the desperation and loneliness and fear I felt when I was placed on the waiting list with thousands of other patients.

    There are 66 500 patients on organ waiting lists in the United States Four thousand of them will not get the second chance that I received, and will die, not because we don't know what to do. There are simply not enough donated organs. The supply is there: some 15 000 patients with fatal head injuries last year—all potential donors—but only 5400 were actual donors.

    There are 66 500 patients on organ waiting lists in the United States

    For almost 13 years, as a patient and as a doctor, I have had …

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