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PATIENTS ON THE U.S. WAITING LIST AT YEAR END: 1989-2017 The number of people on the waiting list for organ transplants has grown steadily since 1989, when it was 19,095. According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), about 115,000 people are on the waiting list for a transplant, up from 83,731 people in 2003. The list peaked in 2014 but dropped by the end of 2017 due a number of factors, including the ability to use organs that once were discarded and the increased use of organs from deceased donors, including people who died from heroin or opioid overdoses.


Someone is added to the national transplant waiting list every 10 minutes.


On average, 20 people die each day while waiting for a transplant.


’89 ’90 ’91 ’92 ’93 ’94 ’95 ’96 ’97 ’98 ’99 ’00 ’01 ’02 ’03 ’04 ’05 ’06 ’07 ’08 ’09 ’10 ’11 ’12 ’13 ’14 ’15 ’16 ’17 SOURCE: OPTN.Transplant.HRSA.gov


125,000 115,000 105,000 95,000 85,000 75,000 65,000 55,000 45,000 35,000 25,000


cent, compared to 79.8 percent for those performed in 2012. “We’re getting much better at managing patients and increasing their tolerance,” says Dr. Robert Montgomery, director of the Trans- plant Institute at New York Univer- sity’s Langone Medical Center. “Those are some of the reasons


people are surviving longer after their surgery.” Dr. Scott Scheinin, who heads the


lung transplant program at Monte- fi ore Hospital in New York, says the ability to use organs from hepatitis C- and some HIV-positive donors was a “really big deal . . . Nobody would have been able to imagine that fi ve or 10 years ago.” Despite the breakthroughs, de-


mand for transplants far exceeds the supply, even though the number of transplants in the U.S. has increased for the last fi ve years straight. According to the Or-


gan Procurement and Transplantation net- work (OPTN), about 115,000 people are on the waiting list for a trans- plant, up from 83,731 people in 2003. The list peaked at 123,851 in


54 NEWSMAX | MAY 2018


JOHN’S STORY J


ohn Mason, who worked for the Department of Defense for 39 years, had all but given up hope of getting a kidney transplant because of his age and medical complications, including diabetes. Mason, 70, from Chesterfield, Va., struggled with kidney


problems for more than a decade and had been enduring dialysis treatments — thrice weekly for fours — for 14 months. He was afraid he was approaching the end of his life. “I felt like I was fading away,” he says. Then, last September, he got a call from Dr. Gaurav Gupta from the Virginia


JOHN MASON


Commonwealth University Medical Center, who, along with Dr. Richard Sterling, was starting a clinical trial for kidney transplants. They were looking for people like Mason, who were near the bottom of the waiting


list and were likely to wait up to six years for a new kidney, if they got one at all. Gupta told Mason he could get a new kidney, but it would come from a donor with the deadly hepatitis C virus. That meant Mason might contract hepatitis C. The good news: Hepatitis C has become almost 95 percent curable in recent years because of fast-acting new drugs. They explained all the risks and I decided to go for it,” Mason tells Newsmax. “I felt


like I had nothing to lose.” Doctors at VCU have treated six patients in the trial, with four more on the horizon. Only two of the six contracted hepatitis and both were cured. Several other hospitals around the country have done similar surgeries in recent months with comparable results. Sterling says this procedure alone could free


up 600 to 800 organs yearly across the country, reducing wait times, saving lives, and costing less than keeping a patient on dialysis. Mason, who has yet to contract hepatitis C, is


thrilled. “I feel great and I have been able to return to a normal life,” he says. “I feel blessed.”


DR. GAURAV GUPTA


DR. RICHARD STERLING


VCU HEALTH


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