Thursday, 3 January 2013

Manipulating Waiting Lists

There's controversy in Germany over allegations that waiting lists for liver transplants were manipulated by doctors falsely listing patients as dialysis cases.

As noted in the BBC article "Competition between transplant centres may be to blame, experts say. There is a worldwide shortage of organ donors - a factor that may have exacerbated competition". Unfortunately there's a danger that negative publicity surrounding donation and transplants may put some people off registering as donors. This is a more serious problem where stories concern things like taking organs without proper consent, but even knowing organs won't necessarily go to the neediest cases may discourage altruistic donors. This, of course, creates a Catch-22 situation, since it's the shortage of organs that leads to nefarious practices in the first place.

My interests are primarily in the acquisition of organs, but it's important to remember that this may be linked with the distribution of said organs in practice, though of course analytically distinct.

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