With around 1,600 Australians on the organ donation waiting list at any given time, a shortage of organ donations across the nation has led doctors at Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital to transplant willing dialysis patients with the recycled and diseased kidneys of cancer patients.
Despite being an extremely risky procedure, according to the ABC (September 11, 2015), the dialysis patients who have received the recycled kidneys are citing the procedure has given them their lives back.
Speaking with Mandi Sami on the ABC News program, The World Today, recycled kidney transplant patient, Steven Weller, says the risk has personally been worth it.
“It is a new procedure, doctors are a bit skeptical about it, but I think the proof is in the pudding at the moment.
“I think, if you can get a chance to have a normal life for a few years, well, you’d take it,” Weller said.
Although you may cry foul at doctors considering such a risky procedure, the stats speak for themselves.
According to the Australian Government’s Organ and Tissue Authority website, less than 1 per cent of people die in hospital in circumstances in which organ donation is made possible.
Last year (2014) was the second highest year on record for organ donation, with 1,193 organ donations from 378 donors that helped 1,117 transplant recipients.
In 2014, there were 16.1 organ donors per million people.
These statistics reveal something needs to be done, as people spend their lives awaiting an organ donation.
Quietly practising the recycled organs operation since 2008, John Hunter Hospital transplant surgeon and neurologist, Dr Philip Sprott, informed The World Today programme that the results to date, have been great.
“We’ve had great results. All of the kidneys that we’ve transplanted have worked straight away.
“The vast majority of them, 90 per cent, are still working now, and we’ve only had one patient I think, has been mentioned that did actually inadvertently or unexpectedly get a cancer transplanted and have to have the transplant removed again,” said Dr Sprott.
Could recycling organs represent the best approach toward tackling our organ donation problem in Australia?
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Do you agree or disagree with the John Hunter Hospital’s approach to recycling organs for donation? Would you accept a recycled organ?
Please leave us your comment.