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