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Fewer and fewer organ donors in Germany

Fewer and fewer organ donors in Germany

Fewer and fewer people are willing to make themselves available as organ donors

The number of people who choose to have their organs removed after their death has been falling since 2010. According to the German Organ Transplantation Foundation, readiness this year has reached a new negative record.

Long waiting times can have fatal consequences for patients on the waiting list for an urgently needed organ. Accordingly, in 2013 only 754 people had decided to donate organs. In the same period last year there were 892. This corresponds to a decrease of 15.5 percent, as the foundation announced on Tuesday at its annual conference.

Since it became known last year that a number of patient data had been manipulated, many people's confidence in the organ donation system has been destroyed. At that time, doctors from Munich, Regensburg and Göttingen had deliberately given false information about the course of their patients' illnesses in order to get a life-saving organ faster. For months, an inspection and monitoring committee then searched for suspicious processes within the 24 liver transplantation programs and found 25 serious policy violations at the University Hospital in Münster, according to a report by the examiners in September. According to the DSO, a total of 2,647 organs have been donated in the past 12 months. This corresponds approximately to the average value from 1995 to 1999. The heart, liver, lungs or kidneys, and in some cases several organs, were removed by one person.

Transplant registry should ensure quality
In order to strengthen people's trust again, numerous campaigns were carried out, if only with moderate success. Most had little impact on people's decision to donate their organs after their death. But even before it became known that manipulation had taken place, according to statistics, three people died every day who urgently needed a donor organ. There are currently 11,300 people on the waiting lists for a suitable organ.

Unregistered exams should help
In order to prevent further manipulation attempts, transplant centers should be checked regularly in the future without notice. Each transplant should now be checked for urgency by three doctors. The board of directors will be restructured in order to bring together specialist competencies, so that some transplant centers will be closed and the DSO will become more publicly oriented. Representatives of the federal and state governments, doctors and lawyers have recently been invited to take part in important decisions. A transplant register, in which the data of the donor and recipient is recorded anonymously, is intended to provide information, among other things, on how far the recipient could continue to live without complications. "The introduction of a transplant register will make the quality of transplants in Germany assessable and comprehensible and thus significantly improve the chances of survival for patients," said Rainer Hess, DSO board member in Berlin. "We have to use this existing potential, the years of life of many thousands of patients depend on it." In the future, such a transplant register can also provide information about the quality of a transplant center, making it easier to make comparisons between national and international centers. It remains to be seen how quickly and to what extent these measures will restore citizens' trust in organ donation. (fr)

Image: Dieter Schütz / pixelio.de

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