Skip to content
Log In | Sign Up Connect

What’s your story?

Share and find customer experiences

Connect with the people behind them

Wacktrap is
feedback made social

Post Your Wack Now

Trending Content


Save Lives for Christmas Comment Now to Stop Organ Donor Sex Partners Guidelines

| Share

by editor

editor's picture
In The News

You’d think organs from those in good health would be readily accepted from those needing them to live. But the CDC wants more than one sex partner per year to equal “elevated risk”. It may sound funny—and certainly sound stupid—but more people who would’ve been able to receive organs to live may die.
More accurately, not having an organ you need is far riskier than two partners per year. You can help stop a new, proposed guideline for organ donations that could literally kill--and it may be the most important thing you do before Christmas. The deadline to save is December 23, 2011.
The proposed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines are still in the “public comments” stage. While even Jay Leno’s laughing about the stupidity of questioning whether someone’s had more than one sex partner in an entire year, the unfunny part is impact: People may donate even less organs – but the public can change that proposal for guideline change. There's now only 12 days to do it.
If you only have time to read part, please skip directly to the base for instructions as to how to contact the CDC and oppose Docket No. CDC-2011-0011 -- or submit here to stop the proposed solid organ transplantation guideline. Then please pass the instructions on to friends -- as less than two weeks remain before the December 23 deadline to officially comment to the government.
If someone has a minimum of two sex partners during a one-year duration, apparently it could be dangerous – at least according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It could and most likely will be dangerous but not in the way proposed. Less people donating could mean more people dying.
If it sounds weird, the reasoning may be moreso. Reason behind what could become new public health “recommendation” – that could subsequently become policy at transplant centers depending on individual decision – has to do with an odd concept that living or deceased organ donors with more than one sexual partner over the past year be dubbed an “elevated risk. Those arguing for the CDC guidelines to become permanent claim an increased likelihood for carrying HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C -- even if the donors never showed any of those illnesses or risks.
There’s a lot of people on the organ transplant list – more than one hundred thousand. Refusing organs for those desperate could seem really crazy to the people desperately needing one, and maybe not able to make that wait. Transplant doctors are worried any new guidelines could lead to deaths of people on the wait list. And it could eat up some serious cash for related testing and time spent on checking organs for HIV, and Hepatitis A and C. Even crazier, tests aren’t always accurate – meaning that testing could end up being pointless.
The American Society of Transplant Surgeons is criticizing the new proposed guidelines and has issued a letter over the controversy, communicating to CDC Director Thomas Frieden that the proposed change has “real potential to mislead the public regarding the risks of disease transmission through solid organ transplantation and that “if [the guidelines are] finalized in their current form, [they] are likely to have significant consequences for the transplant community.”
Director of the CDC’s office of Blood, Organ and Other Tissue Safety Dr. Matthew J. Kuehnert says he has concern about any factor that would deter an organ donor – but claims “education” is needed for donors and recipients. That ‘education’ however could equal death if it influences how many people actually choose to donate the needed organs. The doctor’s argument is that if those guidelines were to be implemented, they would only serve as ‘markers to guide’ the transplant process – not official policy. How ‘markers’ would differ from ‘policy’ remains to be seen. It could just be that individual medical transplant facilities decide to interpret or institute the ‘marker’ as policy. Norman Smith seems to serve as case in point. He can’t get a liver transplant for the life of him.
The reason Smith’s being refused a liver has to do with a marijuana policy by Cedars-Sinai that isn’t an official policy of the CDC. While there's no policy pertaining to medical marijuana users and transplants, it’s the individual transplant facilities that make the final call. In Smith’s case that means Cedars Sinai Transplant is now refusing to treat Smith with a liver transplant – even though he’s already been on the list. The facility recently kicked Smith off the organ donor list because Cedars Sinai doesn’t Smith using medical marijuana, despite the fact it’s been doctor-prescribed to treat radiation pain.
According to Doctor Kuehner, the proposal regarding sexual partners and related guidelines would only be “recommendation by the public health service. They are not regulations.” And – as even Kuehner admits – “he extra step would be if the regulators would translate this into policy.” According to Kuehner, the only absolute is that organs testing positive for HIV are banned under federal law. And there’s no details on how organ donors might be questioned about sex history.
Director of liver transplantation at Froedtert Hospital Dr. David Cronin says the change could mean an increase in deaths – a more than reasonable argument. People who need the organs just may not get them, whether it’s due to hold-up while unnecessary testing ensues – or simply the fact that entering private lives could mean donations just don’t happen.
With a huge wait list of over 100,000 desperately needing new organs each year, any aspect of making it harder to actually donate organs could just mean that less people choose to do it. Doctor Cronin points out that – aside from the uncomfortable factor of family members trying to answer questions about sexual behavior or number of partners, which may also be an unknown – those grieving may just opt out and decide not to donate organs needed. As Cronin so aptly phrases it, people may just decide: ‘These [sexual history questions] are invasive and intrusive. To hell with it! I won’t be an organ donor."
If you’re wondering ‘what’s the point’? -- there’s always a point. And the point usually equals money. It’s unclear whether testing services and related contracts could be a factor. It seems likely. Whatever the ‘point,’ the result is clear: even more people could die without the organs they need. And some already have: The heart-wrenching video shows the story of a man who desperately needed a transplant three years ago.
With roughly 112, 000 currently on an organ wait list, only about one-quarter will actually see a transplant occur – and that’s without any questioning about sex partners that could make the process more difficult. About 28,000 organ transplants are completed annually. If Norman Smith’s having a hard time getting a liver now, the new guidelines could just make that type of prospect an absolute impossibility. Apparently it’s the CDC’s way of saying ‘Merry Christmas’: The public’s got just 12 days of Christmas to respond by December 23, 2011.
This may just be among the most important things you ever do: If it's not someone you know, it could be you who needs an organ transplant at some point in the future. These guidelines passing could mean you or a loved one simply may not have availability. If these pass without public comment to battle and stop the proposal, people will die.
There's two ways to submit public comments to the government, to combat the CDC's proposed guidelines -- or stop the new organ donor guidelines. Please remain aware that cut-off is December 23, 2011 (previously, incorrectly announced as December 21):
Here's the official PDF describing the CDC's proposed solid organ transplant guideline. Most important is action -- and here's how to dispute the federal guideline's passing by sumbitting comment:
Submit online now to oppose Docket No. CDC-2011-0011 and CDC guideline. Then forward immediately to those you know. There's now less than two weeks remaining with a December 23 deadline.
You may instead contact CDC in writing to oppose the solid organ transplanation guideline, mailed to the address provided below. Include envelop heading description: Docket No. CDC-2011-0011 "Public Health Service Guideline for Reducing Transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B Virus (HBV),  and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) through solid organ transplantation"


Office of Blood, Organ and Other Tissue Safety, Division of Healthcare Promotion, CDC
1600 Clifton Rd. NE, Mailstop A-07 Docket No. CDC-2011-0011
Atlanta, GA 30333
United States
Phone: (404) 639-4000
33° 48' 19.3176" N, 84° 20' 12.2244" W
| Share
Average: 5 (2 votes)