The U.S. transplantation system is approaching a tragic milestone. In late September, 99,728 people were on the United Network for Organ Sharing waiting list.
One waiting patient dies every 73 minutes. Three in four waiting patients need kidneys, with the average wait more than five years.
Yet transplant professionals in Iran — which has the world’s only legal, regulated system of kidney donor compensation — claim to have nearly eliminated that country’s waiting list. If their numbers were adjusted for the U.S. population, the kidney wait list would number 1,307.
Meanwhile, in Spain — which, by law, presumes organ donation after death unless the individual said otherwise while alive — the cadaveric organ procurement rate is 35% higher than ours. If the U.S. could do what Spain does with its presumed-consent law, the U.S. would net nearly 14,000 more organs a year.
The whole shebang.