(Israel Hayom/ Exclusive to JNS.org) Inspiring hope among patients
waiting for life-saving organ transplants, the Israel medical community is
expected to launch a pilot program in which organs will be harvested from
donors whose hearts have stopped beating. Until now, organs have only been
harvested from donors who were classified as brain-dead, but whose hearts were
still beating.

Click photo to download. Caption: Israel will launch pilot program harvesting organs from patients whose hearts have stopped. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The main objective of the program
is to reduce the number of patients waiting for organ donations on transplant
lists. In the first stage of the program, organs will only be harvested from
deceased individuals who had consented to organ donation in life, and only in
large hospitals where organ transplants are also performed.

About 50 percent of the Israeli
public has consented to donate organs, a percentage that has remained
relatively steady over recent years. However, in the last year, there was a
decline in the number of brain deaths, and a consequent decline in organ

Dr. Hadar Merhav, head of the
organ transplantation surgery unit at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem,
said “There is a bigger advantage to using an organ harvested from a
brain-dead donor [than from a heart-dead one], because there is blood flowing
to the organ up until the very last minute. Without blood flow, gangrene can
develop, or other types of damage, some of which is irreversible. Despite all
that, when presented with the question of whether it is preferable for a
patient to be hooked up to dialysis or get a kidney that will only last five or
10 years, the answer is clear.”

A Health Ministry official said,
“In the event of a heart death, tracheotomy tubes can be inserted into the
donor’s groin, through which a freezing agent is pumped into the body to help
preserve the organs. Within a two-hour timeframe, if the family’s consent is
obtained, a procedure is performed to harvest the organ.”

…read more
Source: JNS.org


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