There were other reasons than my differing with the way Columbia manages their transplant program & candidates care that makes me relieved that I moved out of New York City when I did.
The New York State donation rate is another.
I truly hope that Lauren’s Law does become permanent versus just another 4 year renewal. I knew the donation rate in New York was lagging but didn’t know the severity of the degree it was. I’d hate to see how low they’d drop if this law was allowed to lapse.
I know there are many misconceptions about donation as well as transplant itself, but I have always felt that more education & awareness might solve that issue. Or perhaps a class or program that is given in conjunction with driver’s education to raise awareness & increase donations could also be of use, even in conjunction with Lauren’s Law.
If asked personally, I would also be in favor of moving to a voluntary opt-out versus the current voluntary opt-in system nationwide, (even though I understand the arguments against such a change).
I do commend New York for recognizing this is a problem & having worked to address it by extending the law but then taking steps for permanent enactment. (Even if rates continue to be lower than hoped for.)
Perhaps other states with low donation rates could take a cue & model similar legislation. Every bit helps to close the gap.
Update (as of) 5/19/16: Though not permanent yet, Lauren’s Law will not sunset. It will be extended another 4 years. Read more here.
While I agree that most of us hoped for something other than another extension, thankfully it was not allowed to lapse. The extension was passed unanimously.
Hopefully in another 4 years they’ll make another effort to make it permanent.
Thanks for sharing your take on Lauren’s Law. As someone who was born and raised in NYC, I had no idea that the donation rates were so low in NYS relative to other states! I personally believe that there is a very large proportion of immigrants in NYC especially, where a very large concentration of NYS’s population resides. In these immigrant cultures, such as the Asian Indian background I am from, organ donation is not at all discussed or considered. Obviously I registered as an organ donor, being born and raised in the US, and being able to make my own decisions on the issue. I think more targeted outreach toward these populations that come from backgrounds where burial tends to be cremation, etc, would likely benefit the organ donation rates. I also personally believe in an “opt-out” system as you mentioned, though I am a physician, and have personally had to take care of too many, far too many sick individuals, who were awaiting organ transplants and ultimately did not receive one in time.
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Thanks Sumit. I agree with you. Even though I was raised with both parents being donors & encouraging me to be one I had no idea of the depth of the myths & some of the cultural aspects of donation until I started volunteering but then also working for Medscape for a time. It wasn’t necessarily that I wasn’t sensitive or didn’t understand it, I just wasn’t exposed to these differences in real time & in relationships with others. I agree that outreach is crucial. I lived in NYC for 10 years, had great care for my rare diseases but moved in 2010 before transplant talk was in my future since a treatment I tried was holding, but my wait in PA is much less than it would have been if I would still be in New York, or if I would have opted for treatment at Boston. I have some friends based on their location that have had to wait two years plus for a transplant, which I think is extremely difficult with the physical impairments & difficulties that less than 40 percent lung function imposes. I have also known friends with kidney transplant that could not find a living donor match or exchange that waited several years too & how draining that was both physically & mentally. So I’m on the same page as you, even on the candidate side of the fence.
I hope we can always work on initiatives to increase awareness of these issues. I think most physicians and other HCPs might not even realize they can not only be a part of the conversation and outreach but they can actually help influence positive change.
If I worked on projects that helped even one more person get a transplant more quickly I would feel so thankful to have helped that one person.
We often discuss our gripes with healthcare as doctors but the best doctors are getting out there, getting involved, and I want to be like them.
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I have no doubts that you will. You are very attuned. That’s half the battle with all the different directions that we are all pulled in as we traverse the healthcare system.
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