Posted by: Chris Maloney | April 1, 2012

Winning the Kidney Lottery. Still A Regional Game. – NYTimes.com

Kidney

Kidney (Photo credit: Joshua Schwimmer)

They worded it a little differently, but the result is the same.

Kidney Experts Urge a Single Registry to Oversee Transplants – NYTimes.com.

Those of you unfamiliar with kidney transplant might think it followed scientific, or at least logical, rules.  But you would be wrong.  Here’s a quote: “mathematical observations do not take into account the politics of kidney transplants, where competing registries are invested in their own methods and successes and see little advantage in unification.”

Advantages for whom?  For the patients, who often receive a poorer match and would receive a better one if different registries were talking to each other?  Or for the donors, who have given a piece of themselves and want more than anything for the recipient to have as good a life as possible?  Or advantages only for the medical bureaucracies that have grown up regionally about transplantation and see their power being eroded by a national system?

“Garet Hil, the founder of the National Kidney Registry, which has arranged more transplants than any other group, said he did not agree that there needed to be a single system.”  Because his system is better than their system.

So instead of a national system, we’ll continue with various systems.  The compromise solves nothing and only serves the status quo.  It left the conference’s lead organizer making up excuses.  “Maybe we can have different operations with common allocation methods and principles,” she said after the conference. “A national registry may be where we need to be when the field is more mature, but maybe we don’t need to do that right now.”  Really?  Is that why you called the conference?  Because you didn’t think there was a need?  Or did you realize that these bozos (apologies, Dr. Bozos) weren’t going to give up their fiefdoms and wanted to continue to control the traffic in kidneys?

So what next?  Well, it’s time to pass the buck.  Guess who should be in charge? “the federal government should oversee a unified system for living donor exchanges.”  Oh, a government bureaucracy is the most effective and efficient way to match kidney donors?  Another layer of bureaucracy?  Better start buying your kidney lottery tickets early, kids, because nothing is changing where it needs to.

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