Do­na­tion pioneers

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By SHAN JUAN in Bei­jing and WILLAWUin Hong Kong Con­tact the writ­ers at shan­juan@chi­

About 300 hospi­tals are to be se­lected as pioneers in set­ting up a depart­ment to co­or­di­nate or­gan do­na­tions.

About 300 hospi­tals na­tion­wide will be se­lected as pioneers to setup a depart­ment to co­or­di­nate and pro­mote or­gan do­na­tions among med­i­cal staff and to raise aware­ness of and stan­dard­ize the prac­tice, said an of­fi­cial.

The hospi­tals’ med­i­cal staff will be trained us­ing up­dated in­for­ma­tion about do­na­tion tech­niques, pro­cesses, reg­u­la­tions and poli­cies, saidHuang Jiefu, direc­tor of the China Or­gan Do­na­tion and Trans­plan­ta­tion Com­mis­sion and for­mer vice-min­is­ter of health.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the coun­try’s top health au­thor­ity will in­tro­duce a mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem to scru­ti­nize the process of brain death di­ag­no­sis for or­gan trans­plan­ta­tions.

Nearly 16 per­cent of the or­gan do­na­tions in China are made af­ter brain death is di­ag­nosed, far lower than the pro­por­tion in the West, ac­cord­ing to the China Or­gan Trans­plant Re­sponse Sys­tem, which is charged with al­lo­cat­ing do­nated or­gans based on a com­puter sys­tem de­signed to en­sure im­par­tial­ity.

Or­gans pro­cured af­ter brain death are con­sid­ered to be of a higher qual­ity for trans­plan­ta­tion.

“These ini­tia­tives aim to bet­ter fa­cil­i­tate pub­lic or­gan do­na­tions, pro­tect due rights of the donors and en­sure fair­ness of the life­sav­ing prac­tice,” Huang said over the week­end.

De­spite a sub­stan­tial in­crease in or­gan do­na­tions in the coun­try, chal­lenges re­main, in­clud­ing a lack of leg­is­la­tion on or­gan do­na­tions an­dal­lo­ca­tion, saidWangHaibo, head of the China Or­gan Trans­plant Re­sponse Sys­tem.

In 2007, the State Coun­cil is­sued the Hu­man Or­gan Trans­plant Reg­u­la­tions, which ban for­eign­ers from trav­el­ing toChina for a trans­plant.

Ef­forts will be strength­ened to make reg­u­la­tions and laws on the do­na­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion of or­gans, Wang said.

In the first half of the year, China recorded 1,795 cases of or­gan do­na­tion, up 45 per­cent over last year, ac­cord­ing to the COTRS.

GaoMin, anor­gan­do­na­tion co­or­di­na­tor with the Shen­zhen branch of the Red Cross So­ci­ety of China, said that num­ber could in­crease with improved aware­ness.

Start­ing in 2010, the Red Cross and health au­thor­i­ties es­tab­lished a pub­lic or­gan do­na­tion sys­tem to help co­or­di­nate and wit­ness do­na­tions ap­proved by fam­ily mem­bers af­ter a pa­tient’s death.

Nearly all po­ten­tial donors are in in­ten­sive care units, and ap­proval is needed be­fore co­or­di­na­tors are granted ac­cess to them, Gao said.

How­ever, due to prob­lems such as strained doc­tor-pa­tient re­la­tions, many hospi­tals do not get in­volved with do­na­tions, she said.

Brain death is a ma­jor is­sue, she added, be­cause the con­cept is not con­ven­tion­ally ac­cepted in China and is not legally de­fined. Be­cause of the lack of a le­gal def­i­ni­tion of brain death, some hospi­tals are re­luc­tant to per­form or­gan re­moval, Gao said.

Chen Jingyu, deputy direc­tor of Wuxi Peo­ple’s Hospi­tal and a lead­ing lung trans­plant spe­cial­ist, said he wel­comed the ef­fort to scru­ti­nize brain death­di­ag­no­sis. He cited cases in which fam­i­lies mem­bers were told a pa­tient was brain­dead and were asked to do­nate or­gans, when in fact the pa­tient was not brain-dead.

“There were profit in­cen­tives, and such has to be pro­hib­ited,” he said.

Cur­rently, few doc­tors are qual­i­fied to di­ag­nose brain death and train­ing pro­grams are in­suf­fi­cient, he added.

These ini­tia­tives aim to bet­ter fa­cil­i­tate pub­lic or­gan do­na­tions ... and en­sure fair­ness of the life­sav­ing prac­tice.” Huang Jiefu, direc­tor of the China Or­gan Do­na­tion and Trans­plan­ta­tion Com­mis­sion

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