Organ Transplant: Eliminate Recipient Bias

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Every ten minutes a person is added to the national transplant waiting list and twenty-two people die each day waiting for a transplant on that list ("LiveOnNY"). These two shocking statistics really stress how intense the organ transplant system can be, especially when it comes to deciding who receives organs, and who unfortunately does not. When a patient applies to be added to the organ transplant list, after being evaluated by a medical specialist, the United Network for Organ Sharing, also known as UNOS, places them into their database. UNOS is a organization that oversees all transplant programs and makes the rules about how organs are to be given to patients in the United States ("Medical Definition of United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)"). In their computer system, UNOS creates a ranked list of transplant candidates for when a declared organ donor has died and their organs are still viable. While it is true they base the list on “blood type, tissue type, medical urgency, waiting time, and geography” ("Become an Organ Donor"), it has been found that subjective (or opinionated) factors can weigh in on a patient’s rank. This list has been proven to be swayed for reasons that aren't objective and strictly medical. The way organ transplant lists are ranked can be a biased and unfair process because subjective factors, like race, play a role in their ranking, transplant specialist have been known to unjustly evaluate candidates because of their past abuse of substances, and people of a higher social status are prioritized in the system.



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