Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tissue donation oversight

“FDA Steps Up Oversight of Body Parts Companies”

Although I wouldn’t call them “body parts companies” I think improved FDA oversight of agencies that procure tissue for transplantation and research should have considerable oversight. I want to know personally and professionally that these agencies adhere to strict guidelines and ethics (particularly considering the near-bodysnatching that was going on in the New Jersey area not long ago).

I was recently on a 3-way phone call with a family member of a deceased individual and someone with our local procurement agency. I felt comfortable vouching for the agency, because of our working relationship with them, but at the same time I understood the reticence of the family.

Tissue donation after death does a lot of good, skin for burn victims, bone for fracture healing, corneas, heart valves and the like. I certainly support the practice of tissue donation, but until we have a good oversight program, nationwide, there will always be just enough doubt out there to make the process more difficult than it needs to be. The families of these deceased individuals, by necessity, are approached at an incredibly difficult time, it would be good to have some of the doubts out of the way before discussions start about the good these donations can do.

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