Uninsured people get poor deal from organ donation in the US

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 26 November 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2704
  1. Jeanne Lenzer
  1. 1New York

    A study of US organ donors and recipients shows a “dirty little secret” of solid organ transplantation: transplant donors are far more likely to be uninsured than are the recipients, according to the coauthor Steffie Woolhandler, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School (International Journal of Health Services 2008;38:641-52).

    The researchers examined the insurance status of 1447 organ donors, both live donors and cadaveric donors, and 4962 transplant recipients from the national inpatient sample database, which provides a nationally representative sample of all US hospital stays.

    They found that 16.9% of the donors were uninsured compared to 4.6% of other hospital inpatients, whereas only 0.8% of the recipients were uninsured.

    The finding that most transplant recipients were insured at the time of their transplant had …

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